Workers In Turkey Are Denied Their Rights

May 4, 2011

Turkish protesters gather at Taksim square during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2011. (MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

It is certainly a positive sign that the AKP political party allowed a May Day demonstration in historic Taksim Square for the second time since 1977.  It would be even better if they took real, positive action on labor rights.

Amnesty International launched a global campaign for workers’ rights in Turkey a few days ahead of the May Day demonstration because of the sorry state of Turkey’s labor conditions.

We remain deeply concerned about the longstanding failure of the Turkish authorities to ensure that labor laws guarantee the fundamental rights of working people.  Indeed, many of these laws date back to the dark days of military rule in Turkey.  A lot of time has passed, but on labor rights, too little has changed.

The right to form and join trade unions, to collectively bargain, and to strike are universal human rights.  While Turkey has ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions that guarantee these rights, it has failed to amend domestic law to ensure workers can fully exercise them. It needs to do so now.

We can all do our part in pushing the Turkish government to live up to its commitments.  Take action now by writing to:

Mr. Omer Dincer
Minister of Labor and Social Security
Calisma ve Sosyal Guvenlik Bakanligi
Ismet Inonu Bulvari no. 42
Emek, Ankara

Ask him to ensure that trade unionists and other workers can exercise their internationally recognized rights, as set out by the ILO convention that Turkey has ratified.