Pegasus said to dismiss employee for drinking rakı on Islamic holy night and posting its photo

Freight worker's union Nakliyat-İş has announced that Turkish private airline company Pegasus had fired one of its employees after they drank rakı with other company employees on “Kadir Gecesi” (a night considered holy by Muslims) and shared a photo of the dinner on social media.

Serkan Alan / DUVAR

The head of the Turkish freight worker's union Nakliyat-İş has announced that airline company Pegasus had fired one of its employees after they shared a photo on their personal social media account showing a group of airline employees drinking alcohol on the 27th night of Ramadan, which is called “Kadir Gecesi” (known as Lailat al Kadr or the Night of Power.)

Nakliyat-İş head Ali Rıza Küçükosmanoğlu told Gazete Duvar that the fired employee was also being “threatened by” Islamists. Küçükosmanoğlu also said that Pegasus had launched a disciplinary process into the other employees seen in the relevant photo.

“This cannot be a reason for dismissing someone. People's private lives concern themselves. This cannot be a reason for dismissal according to the current labor acts. Everyone needs to show respect to religious values, but here people cannot be shown as targets by pointing to their private lives,” Küçükosmanoğlu said.

On April 27, a Pegasus employee shared a photo of themselves drinking rakı, the staple Turkish alcoholic beverage, with colleagues. The employee also wrote “Exclusive to Kadir gecesi, May God accept” in the post.

After the post drew the reaction of Islamists, Pegasus released a statement saying that it had “no connection” to the relevant social media post.

It also said that the relevant social media post had included “remarks that were insulting to religious belief, social thoughts and ideas” and that the company finds its sharing “absolutely unacceptable.”

“In this framework, we would like to announce that the issue has been immediately referred to the ethics-morality board and that the necessary actions will be immediately taken,” the company further wrote on April 28. 

(English version by Didem Atakan)