Following a vibrant interview with Marlis Tepe, GEW President, on the education trade union’s tremendous work in support of colleagues in Turkey, the ETUCE Secretariat addressed its member organisations in Greece, DOE and OLME.

We know that in recent months more Eğitim Sen colleagues, together with their family members, managed to escape from Turkey often by transit through Greece to other EU member states. Can you tell us what are the steps you undertake to help colleagues from Turkey?

Kikinis Thanasis, DOE President, said: “The solidarity of the Greek Trade Unions to our colleagues from Turkey has been there for a long time. In the past few months along with our colleagues from Turkey and their families that managed to escape from Turkey to other European countries, many are those who have been to Greece as a transit place. We have cooperated with ADEDY (the civil servants’ confederation of Greece) in order to appoint lawyers to help with all the procedures that are necessary for their reallocation to other European countries. DOE’s support is mainly focused on covering the immediate needs of the  Eğitim Sen affiliates. These needs that we try to cover include hospitality, financial support, and facilitating them with the procedures needed in order to reallocate to the EU countries of their choice”.

Answering on the question about the support provided to colleagues from Turkey seeking shelter, Nickolaos Papachristos, OLME President, said: “We cover their accommodation and food for a short time period given that our union revenues are very low. As a matter of fact, our colleagues from Turkey do not wish to reside permanently in Greece being fully aware that the Greek-Turkish relations are at a bad level and they do not want to become themselves part of the Greek-Turkish differences. Many of them want to move to Germany, Switzerland or Sweden after a short stay in Greece.”

In case colleagues from Turkey choose Greece as a destination country what is the chain of actions?

So far, we have not encountered such cases. Should one arise, DOE, through its legal department, will help in all the necessary steps that are needed. Furthermore, we will provide moral as well as financial support and facilitate in the finding of a home” continued Kikinis Thanasis.

What kind of message would you like to send to colleagues in Turkey and other ETUCE member organisations?

Our thoughts are always with Egitim Sen and their fair fight for human rights, employment, democracy and freedom. The solidarity of DOE and of all trade unions in Greece is alive and factual”, concluded the interview Kikinis Thanasis.