Public investigators released a disciplinary report on 4 July 2019 accusing Sukru Durmus, President of TARIM ORMAN-IS, of providing confidential information on the whereabouts of members of the Turkish Parliament. The report has alleged that these leaks would endanger the lives of the members of Parliament who could be targeted by so-called terrorists.
The whereabouts of the members of Parliament was only revealed when Sukru Durmus protested against the General Directorate of Forestry giving priority in accommodating members of Parliament in its guesthouse over that of its own workers.
On 27 May 2019, Sukru Durmus released a public statement on how the General Directorate of Forestry refused to book a room for a forest ranger visiting Ankara to receive cancer treatment at the Directorate’s guesthouse because the guesthouse was occupied by the Members of Parliament. This statement was picked up by the media, which created a public outcry against the Directorate. As a result, the Directorate started a disciplinary action against Durmus and assigned two public investigators to prepare a disciplinary report, since Durmus is a civil servant.
The report claims, “By his statement and threats, Sukru Durmus discredited the General Directorate of Forestry, while he implicated, vilified, threatened and targeted the elected Turkish parliament members and released secret information on their accommodation at the guesthouse which could lead terrorist activities targeting PMs.” Additionally, the report proposes the implementation of a highest penalty which includes a 25 percent cut in Durmus’ monthly salary.
This is the second time the General Directorate has attempted to punish the union’s president. Two years ago, due to another public statement he made, he had been given the same penalty. However, Durmus challenged the decision by filing a judicial complaint. The court recently ruled that as an elected union president, Durmus’ actions cannot be punished by penalties that are officially allowed to discipline civil servants.
While Sukru Durmus will again go to the court with the request of invalidating the decision regarding the penalty. On 5 July 2019 in front of the General Directorate of Forestry in Ankara, Durmus made a public statement to defend himself against the unjust accusations. President Durmus emphasised, “All they want with these accusations is to silence our rightful voice. We are as foresters under attack in all areas. If we become silent, these attacks will continue. I call on all workers to speak out for their rights. Enough is enough.”
His statement was again aired by national TV channels and printed by newspapers and posted by online media. Durmus filed a complaint against the public investigators and General Directorate of Forestry for making these accusations.
The BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson expressed his support for Sukru Durmus and stressed the accusation of Durmus providing information to terrorist groups while defending the rights of his members is unacceptable. He stated, “I would like to reiterate our call to the General Directorate of Forestry to drop all charges against President Durmus and immedialy stop all forms of repression against President Dumus. At the International Labour Conference this year, it was announced that Turkey is under intense scrutiny of the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards. The BWI and its affiliates will continue defending Durmus in his fight against any kind of injustice and violation of workers’ rights.”