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Media watchdog launches investigation into Sputnik Turkish due to dismissal of media workers

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Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), has launched an investigation into the Turkish bureau of Russian state-owned news agency and radio broadcast service Sputnik due to the dismissal of 24 employees after they decided in July to go on strike, the Anka news agency reported.

RTÜK’s legal office examined the complaints filed about the dismissal of the 24 Sputnik Turkish employees and drafted a report that will be discussed at one of the council’s meetings this month.

RTÜK has received numerous complaints regarding the dismissal of the Sputnik Turkish employees that accuse the media outlet of violating Turkey’s constitution, the relevant laws and International Labor Organization treaties that guarantee an employee’s right to go on strike without fear of being fired from the job.

The right to strike is guaranteed in the Turkish constitution, with Article 54 stating that “workers have the right to strike in the event of a labor dispute arising during negotiations for the conclusion of a collective agreement,” but labor unions say it exists only on paper since workers face the risk of being fired when they go on strike.

RTÜK reportedly takes the Sputnik Turkish employees’ dismissal as an effort of open intimidation due to their involvement in labor union activities.

Sputnik Turkish in early August fired 24 journalists who joined a labor union and decided to go on strike.

The 24 journalists, who became members of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS), were fired on the pretext of the downsizing the newsroom due to financial problems.

Sputnik Turkish employees voted to strike in July when collective bargaining talks between the media organization and the TGS broke down.

The strike of the Sputnik Turkish employees began on Aug. 17 and is still going on.

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