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Turkish Union Leader Shot to Death

August 7, 1999

ZONGULDAK, Turkey (AP) _ The deputy head of Turkey’s largest labor union confederation was shot to death outside his home early Saturday in the Black Sea coastal city of Zonguldak, the Anatolia news agency said.

Semsi Denizer, 49, became popular when he led some 50,000 striking coal miners on a 165-mile protest march from Zonguldak to the capital, Ankara, for higher pay in 1991. He was general-secretary of the Turk-Is labor confederation.

The assailant, Cengiz Balik, who has a long criminal record, was arrested after the attack, police said.

The attack comes at a time when the union opposes a government measure to increase the retirement age. Talks between union and government officials have failed so far to reach an agreement. The minimum age now averages 45 for women and 50 for men.

The government wants to raise that to 58 for women and 60 for men.

Unions say the government is giving in to demands of the International Monetary Fund, which agreed to a loan for Turkey last month on condition that the government cuts the deficit.

Update hourly