Trade unionist Başaran Aksu has been active in the labor movement and in the field all his life. He has taken part in trade union organizing within various industries and in foundation of independent trade unions. Aksu has been taken into custody numerous times for giving speeches and attending labor protests. Tens of investigations were launched against him. In 2014, he survived a planned lynch attack by a 400 people mob while he was working to organize laborers under the Progressive Mineral Research and Treatment Workers Trade Union of Turkey (Dev Maden-Sen) in Soma. He was hospitalized for 3 months. There are 2 trials and an investigation in progress against Aksu.
Başaran Aksu was born in Hopa in 1974. He has been in the trade union movement for 30 years. He does not have another occupation or a job. He has not been insured for a day in his life. He steers away from money related assignments on principle, so he has never been a professional trade unionist. He is not a member of a confederation. He determines his approach according to the requirements and realities of the sector he is in. He has spent most of his life in industrial zones, working for the labor movement and organizing. He provides for his food and shelter needs from within the organization and stays at houses of workers.
In 2008, Aksu took part in the foundation of a collective aiming at strengthening the trade unionist movement of the working class called Umut-Sen. He is currently the organizing coordinator of the collective. He founded Trade Union of the Security Personnel (Güvenlik-Sen), organized under the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), and acted as a volunteer organization expert for the foundation of the Warehouse, Port, Shipyard and Maritime Laborers Trade Union (DGD-Sen). He assisted trade unions organized under DİSK and Türk-İş to organize laborers in rubber, leather, textile, metal, shipping, chemistry industries. Following the Soma Mining Disaster, he founded the Independent Miners Union (Bağımsız Maden-İş) with Kamil Kartal. He is currently working towards establishing a trade union for migrant laborers.
At the time of the Soma Mining Disaster in 2014, Aksu was organizing laborers in security sector in Samsun. He went to Soma as soon as he heard the news and has been there ever since. A mob tried to lynch Aksu and Kamil Kartal, who founded the Independent Miners Union together, in Soma. Prior to his activities in Soma, Aksu was supporting a resistance at plastic factory in Çerkezköy (Tekirdağ).
Before founding the Independent Miners Union, Başaran Aksu and Kamil Kartal were conducting door to door visits in Soma to encourage laborers to form their own committees, alongside another organizing stint for the Progressive Mineral Research and Treatment Workers Trade Union of Turkey (Dev Maden-Sen). On September 2, 2014, as they were offering their condolences to the family of a laborer who fell victim to an occupational murder, they survived a planned attack of a mob of 400 people. It was claimed that the mob was provoked by the trade unions already organized at the mines and by the employers. Aksu survived the attack with fractures on his waist, cheekbone, and nose and was hospitalized for 3 months. He returned to Soma as soon as he was discharged. He was tried as complainant- accused, alongside the perpetrators of the attack. He was acquitted of all charges. The court deferred the announcement of the verdict for the perpetrators. The next day, 7 thousand people attended the funeral of the deceased laborer.
Again, in Soma, he made a series of speeches on February 16, 2019, as part of protests organized by the miners who are victims of compensation. A complaint was filed against Aksu, accusing him of “provoking [others] to commit crime” in these speeches. The first court hearing was held in Soma 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on December 22, 2020. The second hearing will be held on April 15, 2021.
Aksu is being criminalized by the mining companies around Soma region. Following a complaint filed by İmbat Mining, an investigation is launched against him. Company executives are claiming that Aksu has threatened to kill them.
Aksu has been taken into custody numerous times for giving speeches and attending labor protests. Tens of investigations were launched against him which resulted in nonsuit. He has never received a sentence from those cases that turned into a trial. The last time he was taken into custody was in Gebze (district of Kocaeli). Başaran Aksu was there to show solidarity with the metal workers who wanted to march to Ankara, demanding their trade union rights. Aksu was taken into custody, along with Kamil Kartal. They were both released on the same day.