"On behalf of NUPGE members across the country, I add my voice to those condemning the arbitrary detention of Cihan Erdal and demanding his immediate release. I implore you to take urgent action to secure Erdal's immediate release and safe return to Canada." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (08 Oct. 2020) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) joins numerous academic associations, labour unions, and concerned citizens in calling for the immediate release of Cihan Erdal, a Canadian resident, student, and activist who has been arbitrarily detained in Turkey.
Larry Brown, President of NUPGE, has written a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne to demand the Canadian government take action to secure Erdal's immediate release and safe return to Canada. Read the letter here: Letter to Minister Champagne regarding Cihan Erdal.pdf
NUPGE urges Canadian government to act
The full text of the letter is below:
On behalf of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and its more than 390,000 members across the country, I am writing to you to express my concern with the arbitrary detention of Cihan Erdal in Turkey and demand his release.
Cihan Erdal is a Canadian permanent resident, an activist, and a PhD candidate at Carleton University. He was detained in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 25, while there conducting his doctoral fieldwork on youth-led social movements.
He was detained along with 81 others, including activists, politicians, and academics. The arbitrary arrests appear to have targeted individuals currently or formerly involved with the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Erdal was previously a member of the HDP when he lived in Turkey, but is no longer involved. Furthermore, the most recent information shows that the subject of the charges is HDP social media posts from 2014, which Erdal played no part in, according to his statement.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Turkish government is using the arrests to restrict the right to political association and to crack down on an opposition political party, signaling the erosion of democratic rights. On this we must not stay silent. Furthermore, there are concerns that Erdal could be targeted for prolonged detention due to his sexual orientation.
Carleton University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where Erdal is a student, has condemned the detention and called for his release. A number of academic associations and labour unions, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), of which Erdal is a member, have spoken out and called for his release.
On behalf of NUPGE members across the country, I add my voice to those condemning the arbitrary detention of Cihan Erdal and demanding his immediate release. I implore you to take urgent action to secure Erdal’s immediate release and safe return to Canada.
Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your response on this matter.
How Canadians can take action
Individuals who wish to take action can write a letter to their Member of Parliament, sign the petition calling for Erdal's release, or help to raise awareness on social media. More information about these actions can be found at the #FreeCihanErdal website: https://freecihanerdal.wordpress.com/.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE