The office of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK) union employee İsmet Aslan was searched in the scope of a KCK operation (Union of Kurdistan Communities) on Friday (13 January). Aslan was taken into police custody. Provincial and district offices of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were raided in several provinces.
Among the people taken into custody were BDP Central Steering Board (MYK) member Tuncer Bakırhan, former MP and BDP Deputy Co-Chair Fatma Kurtulan, Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Ankara reporter Murat Çiftçi and the district heads of the BDP in Esenyurt, Zeytinburnu and Bağcılar (Istanbul districts).
İrfan Uçar, press advisor of BDP Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, told bianet that the BDP local government office was raided. Other crackdowns were carried out in several places in the cities of Ağrı, Mersin, Adana, Ankara, Mersin, Batman, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır,Van and Siirt. In Istanbul, the BDP Provincial Office was searched.
Police raids were made on the BDP Diyarbakır Provincial Office, the Headquarters of the Kurdish Language Research and Development Association (KURDİ-DER), the BDP Ecology and the Local Government Office, the Kayapınar Cegerxwin Culture Youth Centre, buildings of the Dicle Fırat Culture Association, the Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) and the Diyarbakır Branch of the Human Rights Foundation (İHD).
KESK President Lami Özgen said that they did not accept the planned search on the headquarters due to the lack of a search order. Urfa Eğitim-Sen Branch Manager Murat Oruç and Gülsüm Çelik for the Diyarbakır Branch were taken into police custody.
Diyarbkır Mayor Baydemir wrote on twitter, "The Aram Tigram Conservatory as part of our municipality was raided. Our headquarters with stringed musical instruments and other criminal instruments like drums, violins or pianos is being searched".
About 123 addresses were searched. At least 32 people were taken into police custody. It was reported that decisions for police custody were released about 45 people. BDP Party Assembly member Emrullah Bingöl was also taken into custody.
The home of Damla Çimen, Deputy Chair of the Revolutionary Socialist Workers' Party (DSİP), was raided by the police at 5.00 am on Friday morning. Her computer was confiscated.
The members of the BDP Istanbul Provincial Faction taken into custody within the operation were reported as follows: Neslihan Güner, member of the BDP Istanbul Women Assembly; Istanbul Provincial Executives Nazire Güreş and Doğan Çiftci; Zeytinburnu District Chair Nezir Erdemci; Esenyurt District Co-Chairs İlyas Demir and Şafak Özanlı; Pendik District Deputy Chair Celal Gürger; Bağcılar District Chair Zekiye İlbasan, former BDP provincial executive Celal Alpan and party employee Ramazan Yıldız.
During the crackdown on the İHD Diyarbakır Branch hard discs and files containing archives and applications of families were seized.
The Association of Solidarity with Families of Detainees and Convicts (TUHAD-DER) was searched as well. Lists with political detainees and convicts and hard discs were confiscated.
During the raid on the Eğitim-Sen Diyarbakır Branch documents and hard discs were seized as well as laptops, archives and books published by the organization. Moreover, the Municipal and Local Authority Trade Union (Tüm Bel-Sen) Diyarbakır Branch was searched and certain documents were seized.
Crack dwon on Leyla Zana's home
The home of BDP Diyarbakır MP Leyla Zana in Ankara was searched. bianet talked to BDP Faction Chair Pervin Buldan who was at Zana's apartment.
Buldan reported that Zana was not at home and the police went in with the help of a locksmith. Apparently ten police officers searched the home. The police took a record and some documents were confiscated.
Buldan explained that Zana was in Diyarbakır and that the search was carried out in detail.
The police announced that there was no search warrant about Zana but since this address was not her registered place of residence the search was continued.
It was declared that the house was the official residence of Cahit Yoldaş, the uncle of Leyla Zana. However, the police confiscated Zana's personal documents and the iPad given to her in parliament.
Buldan called Assembly President Cemil Çiçek. Çiçek called her back later on and said that the search was justified because Zana was not registered at the address of the raided house.
KESK: Raids are not a coincidence
In a statement released by KESK, the confederation announced that they were going to continue their struggle by protesting the crackdown on their central office and the custodies.
The KESK Steering Board criticized the raids and custodies carried out in the scope of the KCK operation. They claimed that the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was trying to persecute everybody who opposed their policies.
The written statement also emphasized that KESK expert on law and collective bargaining agreements İsmet Aslan was taken into police custody at his home on Friday morning.
KESK condemned the way a person whose address was well known was taken into custody.
The statement pointed to KESK's struggle for the amendment of Law No.4688 (Public Servants' Trade Unions) and stressed that a country-wide strike was done on 21upon the confederation's call. It was indicated that this operation did not happen by coincidence.
"The raids will not make us take a step back from the fight for union rights of civil servants and for their freedoms", it was declared.
DİSK called for solidarity
The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) issued a written statement and condemned the searches at KESK and the custodies. They announced, "This attack of the political power is not only directed against KESK but against all labour and democracy forces". DİSK called on all international labour organizations to "urgently" show their solidarity. (NV/IC)