Unveiling Human Rights Violations: The Targeting of Gülen Movement Followers in Turkey

Sümeyye Tercanoğlu

By Anna Moneta

In October 2023, Sümeyye Tercanoğlu and her husband, a Turkish Gulen teacher, faced conviction for suspected affiliation with the Gulen movement. The allegations centred around their purported use of ByLock, a phone application believed by the government to be a platform for Gulen movement supporters engaging in secret communication since the failed coup attempt in 2016. It’s essential to note that no concrete evidence supports these allegations. The Gulen movement, led by an influential Islamic cleric, aims to provide devout Muslims with the necessary secular education for success in contemporary society while also emphasizing the importance of traditional religious teachings. The movement promotes a tolerant form of Islam, highlighting values such as altruism, modesty, hard work, and education (Pew Research Center, 2010). The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been actively targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013. The government’s actions against the Gülen movement have raised concerns about human rights violations and the erosion of democratic principles.

taken from https://polatlipostasicom.teimg.com/crop/1280×720/polatlipostasi-com/uploads/2023/10/zarif-sumeyye-tercanoglu-neden-tutuklandi.png

Upon Sümeyye Tercanoğlu’s arrest, a deeply distressing situation unfolded. She was separated from her 4-month-old child, who, since the day of the arrest, had not been breastfed and lacked access to his mother’s breast milk—crucial for his healthy growth. Legislator Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, known for his human rights advocacy and affiliation with the Green Left Party (YSP), raised concerns about the plight of pregnant women or mothers with infants, asserting that such separations occur on a near-daily basis. He specifically called for the release of Sümeyye Tercanoğlu, shedding light on the human rights implications of these incidents.

Simultaneously, the European Court of Human Rights issued a significant judgment in the case of Yüksel Yalçınkaya v. Türkiye, holding violations of Article 7 (no punishment without law), Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial), and Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Much like the case of Sümeyye Tercanoğlu, Mr. Yalçınkaya’s conviction was significantly based on the use of the encrypted messaging application ByLock.

The judgment underscored that the Turkish judiciary’s uniform and global approach to ByLock evidence did not comply with national law or the object and purpose of Article 7, designed to safeguard against arbitrary prosecution, conviction, and punishment. Procedural shortcomings in criminal proceedings, specifically regarding access to and compelling challenge of ByLock evidence, were also noted, breaching the right to a fair trial under Article 6. This systemic problem has broader implications, with approximately 8,500 applications on the Court’s docket involving similar complaints under Articles 7 and/or 6 of the Convention. Under Article 46, the ECHR mandated that Turkey implement general measures to address these systemic problems, particularly concerning the Turkish judiciary’s approach to ByLock evidence. This underscores the urgent need for Turkey to address the human rights violations associated with convictions based on ByLock usage.


Liu, J. (2010) Gülen movement, Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2010/09/15/muslim-networks-and-movements-in-western-europe-gulen-movement/. Last visited November 13th 2023.

European Court of Human Rights. (2023) Judgment concerning Türkiye, ECHR. Available at: https://www.echr.coe.int/w/grand-chamber-judgment-concerning-turkiye. Last visited November 13th 2023.

Yüksel Yalçinkaya v. Türkiye. (2023). European Court of Human Rights. https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-227636%22]}. Last visited November 13th 2023.

Detention of Ismet Ozcelik Extended by 10 Months

By Aneta Orlowska

The case of Ismet Ozcelik, a Turkish national, has once again highlighted the concerns surrounding justice and the legal profession in Turkey. Ozcelik, an academic who has been held in detention since 2017 on alleged links to a cleric blamed for a 2016 coup attempt, was due for release from prison. However, his departure has been extended by an additional ten months, raising questions about the fairness and independence of the Turkish legal system.

Ozcelik, along with Turgay Karaman, a school principal, was deported from Malaysia to Turkey in 2017, where they were accused of ties to the network of Fethullah Gulen. The Gulen movement, led by an influential Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, aims to provide devout Muslims with the necessary secular education for success in contemporary society while also emphasising the importance of traditional religious teachings. The movement promotes a tolerant form of Islam, highlighting values such as altruism, modesty, hard work, and education (Pew Research Center, 2010).

Since the failed coup attempt, the Turkish government has detained and jailed tens of thousands of people, pending trial, on suspicion of involvement with Gulen’s network. Human rights organizations have criticized this widespread crackdown for its impact on the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.

One of the key pieces of evidence used against Ozcelik was the allegation that he had used a mobile app called Bylock, which Turkish authorities claimed was used exclusively by Gulen’s followers. However, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has clarified that using Bylock cannot serve as reasonable suspicion for arrest or evidence for a conviction. Despite this, Ozcelik’s requests for an expert panel examination to contest the claims against him were denied, violating the principle of equality of arms in the legal process.

In addition to the Bylock allegation, Ozcelik’s participation in a protest and his social media posts criticizing the government’s actions were presented as evidence of his alleged membership in an armed terrorist organization. The UN Human Rights Committee and the ECtHR have emphasized protecting the fundamental rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. They have stated that these activities should not be criminalized without concrete evidence of involvement in illegal or terrorist activities.

Another contentious aspect of the case is the involvement of a private education company, Polat A.S., with which Ozcelik was a shareholder. Turkish authorities accused the company of being a front for carrying out alleged terrorist activities. However, critics argue that no concrete evidence substantiates this claim. Polat A.S. was a legally incorporated company operating under Turkish law and with a license from the Ministry of Education. Using such legal activities as grounds for criminal conviction raises concerns about the validity of the charges against Ozcelik.

The extension of Ozcelik’s detention by ten months has raised further concerns about the erosion of justice and the stifling of the legal profession in Turkey. Human rights defenders and legal experts have consistently expressed worries about arbitrary detention and the use of terrorism charges against individuals who exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.

The case of Ismet Ozcelik and others like him underscores the need for Turkey to uphold fundamental principles of justice, independence, and respect for human rights. International bodies, including the United Nations, have called for the release of detainees like Ozcelik and have highlighted the importance of providing effective remedies for those who have suffered violations of their rights.

As the detention of Ismet Ozcelik continues, it remains a stark reminder of the challenges facing the Turkish legal system and the urgent need for reforms to protect the rights and freedoms of all individuals.

Note: This article is based on available information and does not constitute legal advice or an official statement of the events described.

  • Initiative, T. A. L. (2023, July 30). How having “the wrong” dish led to imprisonment for terrorism. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative is a volunteer organisation to defend the defenders. https://arrestedlawyers.org/2023/07/28/how-having-the-wrong-dish-led-to-imprisonment-for-terrorism/
  • İsmet Ozcelik. Tenkil Memorial. (n.d.). https://tenkilmemorial.org/en/tenkil-veritabani/ismet-ozcelik/
  • Miles, T. (2019, May 29). Turkey was told by U.N. to free and compensate gulen-linked detainees. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-un-idUSKCN1SZ1RD
  • Scf. (2023, November 9). Man imprisoned on Gülen links to spend ten more months behind bars for making prayer beads. Stockholm Center for Freedom. https://stockholmcf.org/man-imprisoned-on-gulen-links-to-spend-10-more-months-behind-bars-for-making-prayer-beads/
  • Turkish Minute. (2023, November 9). Man imprisoned on Gülen links to spend 10 more months behind bars for making prayer beads. https://www.turkishminute.com/2023/11/09/man-imprisoned-on-gulen-link-to-spend-10-more-months-behind-bars-for-making-prayer-beads/
  • The United Nations Human Rights Committee has decided that Turkey is unfair. Justice Square. (n.d.). https://www.justicesquare.com/uncategorized/the-united-nations-human-rights-committee-has-decided-that-turkey-is-unfair/
  • Çetin, T. (2019, June 5). Un asks Turkey to release i̇smet özçelik and Turgay Karaman immediately. BoldMedya. https://boldmedya.com/2019/06/02/un-asks-turkey-to-release-immediately-ismet-ozcelik-and-turgay-karaman/

Basın Bildirisi: Broken Chalk, Al-Ahli Baptist Hastanesi’ndeki Son Krizden Sonra İsrail ve Uluslararası Topluma Derhal Ateşkes Çağrısı Yapıyor

18th October 2023

17 Ekim’de Hamas, Gazze Şeridi’ni çevreleyen duvarların hemen dışında düzenlenen bir festival sırasında İsrail topraklarına önemli bir saldırı başlattı. Bu olay, 250’den fazla İsrailli sivilin trajik ölümüyle sonuçlandı, birçok kişi kaçırıldı ve enklavda tutsak edildi. Yanıt olarak İsrail, Hamas’la tam ölçekli bir çatışma başlattı, Gazze’ye hava saldırıları düzenledi ve kapsamlı bir sınır kuşatması gerçekleştirdi. Çatışma, tahmini 3.000 Filistinli’nin Hamas’ın ilk saldırısına bağlı ölümüyle ve 1.300’den fazla İsrailli sivilin kaybıyla yıkıcı sonuçlara yol açtı. Dünyanın en yoğun nüfuslu kentindeki 2 milyondan fazla Filistinli için trajik bir insani krizi tetikledi.

İnsan maliyeti üzerine düşünüldüğünde, Gazze Sağlık Bakanlığı’nın tahminlerine göre, çatışmanın başından bu yana Gazze’de 1.000’den fazla çocuğun öldüğünü belirtmek yürek burkucudur. Gazze’nin 2.3 milyonluk nüfusunun yarısı 18 yaşın altında olduğundan, Birleşmiş Milletler ve uluslararası toplum, derhal bir ateşkesi teşvik etmek ve her iki tarafı da uluslararası hukuk kurallarına uygunluk konusunda sorgulamak için çabalarını iki katına çıkarmalıdır. BM Genel Sekreteri Antonio Guterres, “Hamas saldırıları Filistin halkının toplu cezalandırılmasını haklı çıkaramaz” diyerek derhal insani bir ateşkes çağrısında bulundu.

ABD, Avrupa Birliği, İsrail ve Mısır’ı içeren devam eden tartışmalardaki son zorluklar derin endişe vericidir. Bu tartışmaların temel amacı, Rafah geçiş noktasının açılması suretiyle Mısır’dan Gazze’ye kritik insani yardımların girişini kolaylaştırmaktır; fakat, bu müzakereler, 17 Ekim’de çatışmanın başlamasından bu yana İsrail’in Rafah geçiş noktasını dört kez hava saldırılarıyla hedef alması nedeniyle önemli engellerle karşılaşmıştır. Yüzlerce Mısır insani yardım kamyonu Rafah geçiş noktasında sıkışıp kalmış durumda, Mısır hükümeti ise birçok yaralı erkek, kadın ve çocuğa engelsiz insani yardım ulaşabilmesi için İsrail ve ABD’ye ateşkes yapmaları için baskı yapıyor.

17 Ekim’de, Gazze’deki Al-Ahli Baptist Hastanesi’nde yaralı Filistinli’lere, kadın ve çocuklar da dahil olmak üzere yardım eden doktor ve hemşirelerin bulunduğu, diğer Filistinlilerin de sığınak aradığı bir hastanede büyük bir patlama meydana geldi. Filistin sağlık makamlarının bildirdiğine göre, bu olay, şu anki çatışmanın başlamasından şimdiye kadar yer alan olaylardan en yüksek ölüm sayısının görüldüğü olay oldu ve 500 kişi hayatını kaybetti. Çatışmanın her iki ana askeri aktörü Hamas ve İsrail Savunma Kuvvetleri, olaydan diğer tarafın sorumlu olduğunu iddia ediyor.

Bu çatışma, neredeyse 2.2 milyon Filistinlinin gıda, su ve elektrik gibi temel ihtiyaçlara erişimden mahrum bırakılmasıyla emsalsiz bir insani krize yol açtığından, Broken Chalk, bölgede ve tüm insanlık için istikrarı sağlamak amacıyla devam eden aşırı insan hakları ihlallerini durdurmak için derhal harekete geçilmesi çağrısında bulunuyor. İsrail hükümetine ve uluslararası topluma, birçok yerinden edilmiş ve etkilenmiş Filistinli’ye yardım sağlamak için Rafah sınırından insani yardımın geçişine izin vermek üzere derhal ateşkes yapılması çağrısında bulunuyoruz. İsrail hükümetinin hastaneleri, gazetecileri ve sivilleri koruma konusunda uluslararası hukuk kurallarına sıkı sıkıya uymasını talep ediyoruz. Uluslararası toplumun, insan haklarının korunmasını sağlamak için İsrail hükümetine daha fazla denetim uygulamasının şart olduğuna inanıyoruz. İsrail’in, Filistin hastanelerine su, gıda, elektrik ve yakıtın ulaşabilmesi için Gazze üzerindeki kuşatmayı kaldırması acil bir ihtiyaçtır.

Broken Chalk, saygıyla kamuoyuna duyurur.


Broken Chalk

Selin Gülçin Yalçın tarafından https://brokenchalk.org/press-release-broken-chalk-calls-on-the-immediate-ceasefire-by-israel-and-the-international-community-following-the-latest-crisis-at-al-ahli-baptist-hospital/  Web adresinden çevrilmiştir.

Mustafa Ersoy’s Plea for Swiss Asylum

Mustafa Ersoy’s fate hangs in the balance as he faces deportation to Turkey. With his expired passport, he has turned to Switzerland in a desperate plea for asylum.

by Inja van Soest.

In a recent report by İsmail Sağıroğlu from Boldmedya, we learn of yet another tragic chapter unfolding against a backdrop of mounting pressure within Turkey. Mustafa Ersoy, a 52-year-old educator from Konya Beyşehir, is facing deportation. After completing his studies in computer science in Kazakhstan, he stayed for a decade as a teacher. Afterwards, he returned to his homeland, Turkey, assuming roles as a manager in Beykoz and Sultanbeyli reading halls affiliated with Kaynak Eğitim in Istanbul.

However, Mustafa’s life took a sharp turn on July 15, 2016, when Turkey experienced a coup attempt. The Turkish government attributed the coup to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Once an ally of President Erdogan, Gulen firmly denies any involvement in the coup. The Turkish government has labelled Gulen’s network as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” (FETO), accusing its supporters of establishing a “parallel state” by infiltrating various state institutions, including the police, judiciary, and military. In the two years following the coup attempt, Turkey remained under a state of emergency, leading to the arrest of tens of thousands and the suspension or dismissal of at least 125,000 civil servants, military personnel, and academics suspected of having links to Gulen.

When Mustafa’s colleagues started facing detainment and arrests, he sought refuge in Kazakhstan. However, his inability to renew his passport forced him to leave Kazakhstan, ultimately reaching Switzerland via Greece, where he applied for asylum.

Regrettably, Mustafa Ersoy’s application was rejected on two separate occasions, with him not having access to the information in his case files. The situation reached a critical juncture on Thursday, October 12th, when Swiss Police picked him up in the early morning hours at the camp where he had been staying and escorted him to the airport. Mustafa refused to board the flight to Turkey, fully aware that he would face imminent arrest and persecution upon his return. Since then, he has been in a detention centre near Geneva alongside other immigrants awaiting deportation to their home countries.

It was not until Monday, October 16th, that Mustafa received a glimmer of hope when a Swiss court granted him the right to reapply for asylum. His re-application with the legal help of FLAG21 is now under review, with a decision expected within the next ten days.

Broken Chalk firmly stands with Mustafa Ersoy and is grateful for the help he has received from FLAG21. Broken Chalk appeals to the Swiss Government to grant him asylum and protection from the potential persecution he faces at the hands of the Turkish Government.

More information about the attempted Coup: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/15/turkeys-failed-coup-attempt-explainer

And the original news article: https://aktifhaber.com/gundem/isvicrenin-deport-kararina-direnen-mustafa-ogretmen-destek-bekliyor.html

Educational challenges faced by refugee children in Turkey

Written by Caren Thomas

Refugees are those who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Experiencing such fears in early childhood will critically impact a child’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

As articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have specific rights. These include principles of protection from harm, provision of basic needs, recognition and participation of children as rights holders. 

Through the Temporary Protection Regulation passed in 2014, Syrian refugees are provided specific protection to specific rights, including education, shelter, food, water, housing, social security mechanisms and the labour market.

Via the 2015 EU-Turkey joint action plan, both sides aim for enhanced educational opportunities across all levels and a commitment to assisting the host nation, Turkey, particularly in aspects like infrastructure and various services.

In 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees set a goal that governments should be in a position to include refugee children and youth in the national education systems within the time period of three months of displacement.

The earthquake in February 2023 inflicted additional distress upon refugees and other displaced children in Turkey, particularly impacting their access to education.

Education is a fundamental entitlement for every refugee and individual seeking asylum. Turkey is facing a significant influx of asylum seekers and is also a host to a substantial refugee population, a majority composed of Syrians. Unfortunately, these refugee children are unable to access education due to their circumstances. The existing educational framework for refugees in Turkey is burdened with numerous difficulties and obstacles.

Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash.


Many enrol in Turkish schools after obtaining an international protection identification document bearing the foreigner identification number. The tuition fee waiver announced by the council of ministers only applies to students from Syria. Turkish classes are offered at Public Education Centres free of charge. For this, the international protection identification document is required. However, if insufficient persons are enrolled, said classes may not commence on the requested enrolment date.

Individuals hailing from Syria are eligible to enrol in Temporary Education Centres, whereas refugees and asylum seekers from different nations are exclusively permitted to register at Turkish public schools. Temporary Educational Centres are schools which provide educational services for persons arriving in Turkey for a temporary period. These were initially staffed by Syrian volunteers who UNICEF and other NGOs financially compensated. As per the Ministry of National Education, a considerable proportion of the refugee children were out of school in 2019. However, there has been a substantial decline in the number of children not attending since the initial years of the Syrian refugee crisis. As of  2017, the Turkish authorities have been implementing measures to integrate Syrian refugees into the country’s public education system.

Statelessness within the Syrian population residing in Turkey presents a notable issue. Challenges persist due to factors such as the lack of proper civil documentation, difficulties in acquiring birth certificates in Turkey, and the citizenship regulations of Syria. Notably, Syrian nationality can only be inherited by a child from their mother if the birth occurs within the borders of Syria.

Within Turkey, if the mother’s relationship with a Syrian or Turkish father is unestablished or unclear, then the child faces the risk of statelessness. An absence of Turkish citizenship or permanent residency leads to them being guests within the country and failing to be integrated into Turkish society.

While Turkey is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it has submitted a request for geographical limitation. Consequently, individuals such as Syrians and those arriving from various other nations are ineligible for complete refugee status in Turkey. Alternatively, they are registered under the “temporary protection” regulation.

This Temporary Protection Regulation allows refugees access to essential resources such as healthcare and education. Once the refugees are registered under the Temporary Protection Regulation, they are required to remain within that province.

Additional issues arise from the lack of recognition of temporary and international protection status in 16 provinces across Turkey. The reduction of 25% to 20% foreign population within a given neighbourhood continues to cause significant issues. Finding jobs becomes a difficulty since the individual is forced to look for jobs only in the area the individual is registered in, thereby limiting the job opportunities that may be available to them in other places, such as Istanbul.

A recurring trend observed worldwide is that during times of crisis, the education sector is frequently the first to be halted and the last to be reinstated. It is crucial to be have access to education regardless of whether you are an international protection applicant or status holder or if you plan to resettle in another country or go back to your country. It helps the children develop skills, stability as well as  integrate them socially and academically into the education system.

Language barriers

In a study conducted, it was seen that the main problem was that of language. The employed teachers did not speak Arabic, and the children, in this case, did not speak Turkish. There are no activities carried out within the classroom setting to facilitate their learning. There is no varied material brought in to help aid their understanding. Teachers need to be provided with vocational training to better facilitate the learning process for refugee children through teaching strategies and teaching aids.

The teachers have little to no awareness on these refugee children, not just from an educational point of view but also on a psychological level. A majority of these students have been subjected to post-traumatic stress disorder, primarily due to the conditions they are coming from.

The children’s communication barrier furthers the issue within education. When the refugee children are put with other students who can speak the Turkish language, they are often subject to mockery, lack confidence and isolation due to the language barrier.

Syrian children and youngsters attending informal education and integration courses at Relief International communıty centre.
Photo by: EU/ECHO/Abdurrahman Antakyali , Gaziantep.

Familial background and trauma

In a gender analysis carried out in 2019 to explore the Syrian refugee journey with a focus on the difficulties encountered by refugees in Turkey, it was observed that a notable portion of Syrian refugee children were not attending school. Among those who were in school, there were elevated levels of trauma. This significantly undermined the educational advancement of these children.

Children were initially not sent to schools since parents felt their stay in the country where they sought asylum would be temporary. However, once the families realised the permanency of their residency in Turkey, the enrolment rate in schools by refugee children steadily increased.

Research has consistently shown the positive effects of education on children who experience post-traumatic stress and develop coping and resilience skills. This can prove particularly helpful and effective for refugee children in the long run.

However, despite the positive impact education has, it comes with complications. An unstable or unsupportive home environment hinders a smooth educational process for these children and impacts the quality of education.

Refugee families typically find themselves having lost all they had. This, alongside  the financial strain, forces their children into early marriage, leading them to drop out of school. Worth mentioning, is that in 2020 there was a drop in boys attending school. It was seen that reasons such as sending children to work due to augmented economic hardship were one of the reasons to withdraw boys from schools.

Decline in services

Natural disasters, epidemics and wars spare no children. Turkey was gripped by conflict following Covid-19 and the earthquake in February 2023. Refugee children are often subject to poverty, poor living conditions, minimal access to safe drinking water, healthcare and food, as well as compelled to work owing to the unfavourable economic circumstances faced by the family, leading to the children being forced to neglect their education. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education for Syrians and Other Refugees and the Promotion of Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education were seen as ways to address the economic barriers to enrolment and attendance.

These children have been victims of distressing experiences at a young age, such as the maiming and death of their near and dear ones. Due to the unstable environment, this results in a delay with their access to education. These children may end up receiving education in inadequate educational facilities, thus hindering their ability to fully grasp and unleash their full potential.

Racism and xenophobia

Instances of racist and xenophobic assaults have experienced a substantial rise as well. This has been further exacerbated by various politicians within the country. This continues to subject refugees from Syria and other places in constant danger throughout schools, homes and workplaces. Taking into consideration the duty Turkey has towards its refugees, especially as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, the politicians, members of the government, policymakers, and other influential persons should make a conscious effort not to instigate animosity towards refugees within the country.

Teachers and other resource persons need to make a conscious effort to bring awareness among the children of the host state that discrimination, racism, bullying, and other such acts are unacceptable behaviour. The citizens or parents of the students of the host state also need to be made aware to end discriminatory treatment towards these refugee children and teach their children to be respectful towards their fellow peers. Basic language skills among refugee children would allow for both parties to have a basic level of interaction. If not, refugees will persist in grappling with the notable issue of being excluded and marginalized.

The host nation must actively strive to comprehend the challenges that refugees encounter within an educational environment, encompassing issues like bullying, discrimination, language barriers, and similar concerns. These factors impact the necessity of forging connections and fostering a sense of belonging.

Hatay, Turkey, 9 February 2023. Members of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team continue working in coordination with other search and rescue teams looking for survivors. Photo by UK ISAR Team

February 2023 earthquake

The earthquake that struck the nation in February 2023 has exacerbated the challenges faced by refugees. Basic resources, such as education, are now inaccessible for children. Several schools are being repurposed as shelters for those affected by the earthquake.

UNICEF has managed to help 140,000 children with access to formal or non-formal education and has provided more than 260,000 children with access to mental health and psychosocial support. UNICEF and AFAD have played an active role in helping the Ministry of National Education with temporary education measures such as tents for catch-up classes and exam preparation. However, even UNICEF recognises the need for longer-term support needed for rebuilding and recovering the lives of these children and their families.

It is a common pattern that education, particularly for vulnerable groups, tends to be disregarded and relegated to a lower priority. This situation could potentially push these vulnerable children into engaging in child labor as a means of supporting themselves or their families during these challenging circumstances. The increase in bias and impoverishment persists among these Syrian refugees, and when combined with the restricted educational access, they find themselves compelled to work merely to sustain their livelihoods.


The hosting country should make efforts to guarantee the integration of displaced children, regardless of their specific classification as refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, into the local education system in their respective residential areas.

Considering the massive influx of migration that Turkey receives due to global humanitarian crises, it would be wise if Turkey took an active initiative not only in policy-making but in its implementation regarding the education situation for said displaced children.

Partners within the country as well as internationally should step up to help the Turkish authorities by equipping them with the required support in the form of financial aid, technical assistance, expertise in terms of teachers who have the talent to speak the relevant languages, subject knowledge and to be able to cater to the different kinds of difficulties that come with teaching children that are coming from volatile environments.

It’s important to acknowledge that a teacher tasked with educating refugee children, along with those who are internally displaced, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, is instructing a group that faces challenges beyond what is typically encountered in a standard classroom setting.

These children may have disabilities from birth or due to violence in their countries, have seen family members and friends killed or injured, or have even been victims of sexual violence. It’s highly probable that their education might have been disrupted well before their arrival in the host country. As a result, teachers in these contexts need to possess not only strong teaching skills but also a profound understanding of their classroom environment and a sensitivity to the unique situations they are confronted with. This is a difficult challenge.

The host country and other partners assisting the host country must also be mindful of this fact while hiring teachers and other resource persons. Education, especially for refugees, is exceptionally beneficial for social restructuring and socioeconomic development. 

As the viability of the Turkiye Compact is under ongoing evaluation, particularly given the difficulties involved, its execution would notably contribute to supporting Turkey and enhancing the nation’s economy. Additionally, it would assist refugees in achieving greater self-sufficiency and decreasing their reliance on humanitarian aid funding.

Introducing a universally recognized certification system for these children would enhance the ease of educational transitions, if they were to occur. This system would facilitate enrollment, attendance, retention, progression, and completion, fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for both refugee children and youth.

Ignored, bullied, rejected and discriminated against are common words used to describe the experience of refugee children in schools. It is high time this narration and plight are changed. Turkey must uphold its treaty obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention against Torture and continue to uphold the principle of nonrefoulement. Ensuring education provides a robust platform for children to be emboldened and enrich their future.  It is an immense responsibility that should be shouldered by the state and non-state actors at the local, national and international levels to maximise all efforts to ensure a safe space for these children.


Amidst controversy and politics, the Akbas-Tereci family seeks safety and a place to call home.

In the Netherlands, the Akbas-Tereci family, devout members of the Gülen Movement, stand at a precipice of uncertainty. With the impending arrival of their second child, this Turkish couple and their five-year-old daughter Vera face a worrying reality. This legal dilemma threatens their pursuit of safety and stability. Their journey from Turkey to the Netherlands lays bare the unforgiving complexities of seeking asylum, shedding light on profound questions of justice and compassion in a world of uncertainty.
~ by Inja van Soest

Sümeyra Akbas en Beytullah Tereci with their daughter Vera. FOTO: NIELS DE VRIES
Sümeyra Akbas en Beytullah Tereci with their daughter Vera. FOTO: NIELS DE VRIES

A recent petition has sparked interest in the faith of this young family. Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci, a Turkish couple currently residing in the Netherlands with their five-year-old daughter, are expecting their second child. The couple is part of the Gülen Movement, which promotes a tolerant Islam emphasising altruism, modesty, hard work and education. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government accused the movement of being involved in an attempted coup in 2016, leading to much controversy about the movement and a political conflict. The Gülen Movement is classified as a terrorist organisation, making it dangerous for Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci to return to Turkey.
The family have been in the Netherlands for more than a year now. They have been volunteering in their community whilst attending Dutch language courses thrice weekly. Their five-year-old daughter has started to speak Dutch and has made local friends. Beytullah states: “We want to feel at home here. We came here to start a new life and have a future.”

Typically, Turkish refugees are granted residence permits, with approval rates reaching as high as 97.5 % in 2022, according to VluchtelingenWerk statistics. However, the case of Akbas and Tereci stands out due to their unique circumstances. While the parents hold Turkish citizenship, their daughter is of Brazilian nationality. Akbas and Tereci had fled from Turkey to Iraq before the failed coup attempt in 2016. They married in Iraq and built their lives as elementary school and preschool teachers. They had five more years of validity on their Turkish passports and believed they could return to their home country within that timeframe. However, when they were expecting their first child, they had to make a decision. If their daughter had been born in Iraq, she would have been stateless without any papers as them being Gülenists; they couldn’t go to the Embassy out of fear of being arrested. She would neither be granted a Turkish nor an Iraqi passport, and they would have been unable to leave Iraq. They decided to go to a country where their child would receive papers by birth. And they ended up going to Brazil for the birth of their daughter.

After two months of being there, they returned as a family of three. They didn’t plan on settling there. Therefore, they didn’t need a Visa, as their stay was shorter than three months. Afterwards, they returned to Iraq, where their jobs and life awaited them. Five years later, the decision to get papers for their daughter puts them in a situation where the Netherlands does not want to grant them residency as their daughter is Brazilian. The ruling of their case states they have a connection with Brazil. However, they neither speak the language nor have family or friends there.

The court ruling surprised the couple and their lawyer because the family would not receive residency in Brazil either, which could ultimately lead to them being deported to Turkey. The family was supposed to have to leave their current asylum centre by the 14th of September but have been offered the option to go to a different asylum centre. However, they would not be allowed to leave the town and have to sign in every morning that they are present at the centre. Akbas expresses his feelings of having escaped an unjust Turkish prison sentence to now live like a prisoner at the asylum centre. A daily life without much prospect. “It is like being sick, and you don’t enjoy anything. I don’t enjoy food or drinking. It should be happy times for my family; we worry too much instead.”
The initial ruling has been appealed, but the judge ruled against the appeal again, a disappointing outcome. But the family, their lawyer and their friends are unwilling to give up. Whilst their case is being fought in court, their Dutch language teacher has started a petition to revise the decision made by the court.

Beytullah Tereci is thankful for the support the family has been getting and hopes for a positive outcome for his family and his children. “We want to be home, but we cannot go there. So we choose a new home, a future. How can it be that your home is not welcoming you, and you still have to go.”

If you want to support Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci and their daughter Vera, you can sign the petition here:

2022 Enlargement Package: European Commission Assesses Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey, Recommends Candidate Status for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Written by Joseph Kamanga

The European Commission has adopted its 2022 Enlargement Package, which evaluates the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their path toward EU membership. The Commission recommends granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, contingent upon their implementation of measures to strengthen democracy, uphold the rule of law, combat corruption, and safeguard media freedom.

State of the EU: MEPs debate about the EU’s most immediate challenges. Photo by European Parliament

The Commission highlights the significance of EU enlargement as a long-term investment in peace and stability. Montenegro needs to address rule of law concerns, while Serbia should establish a government committed to EU reforms. Albania and North Macedonia must intensify their efforts in upholding the rule of law, combating corruption, and fighting organized crime.

Kosovo should enhance democracy and combat corruption, while Serbia and Kosovo are expected to engage in constructive dialogue to normalize their relations. Turkey needs to address concerns regarding democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights, while respecting the sovereignty of EU member states.

The Council will now assess the Commission’s recommendations and decide on the subsequent actions to be taken.

Η ζωή της Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που δολοφονήθηκε στη φυλακή

Το αποτυχημένο σωφρονιστικό σύστημα της Τουρκίας οδήγησε στον τραγικό θάνατο μια μοναδική ψυχή. Μια κριτική του βιβλίου “η ζωή της Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που σκοτώθηκε στην φυλακή” (2022)

Από την Vivien Kretz

Πώς μπορεί οι φυλακισμένοι που δεν έχουν καταδικασθεί σε θάνατο να δολοφονούνται;

Πώς οι πολίτες πληρώνουν με την ζωή τους; Ερωτήματα σαν αυτό προκύπτουν, όταν σκέφτεσαι την μοίρα της Halime Gulsu.

Το βιβλίο της Zeynep Kayadelen από τις εκδόσεις της αμερικανικής οργάνωσης ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων ”οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας” (AST) με τίτλο: ”Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που δολοφονήθηκε στη φυλακή” βασίζεται στις μαρτυρίες των συγκρατούμενων της Gulsu για τις τελευταίες στιγμές της όπως και σ’ αυτές των φίλων της και της οικογένειάς της.

Πέθανε ως κρατούμενη σε μια πτέρυγα της φυλακής στην επαρχία Μερσίνη της Τουρκίας, επειδή δεν είχε πρόσβαση σε ιατρική βοήθεια.

Η ιστορία της Halime Gulsu παρουσιάστηκε από την τουρκική ΜΚΟ ”οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας” (AST). Η συγγραφέας Zeynep Kayadelen ξεκινάει το έργο της με την εξής εισαγωγή: ”Έχουμε πεθάνει πολλές φορές”. (Kayadelen 2022,9). Η απελπισία διαπερνάει τις λέξεις της. Αφιέρωσε το έργο της σ’ όσους είχαν οδυνηρό θάνατο για κάτι που πίστευαν.

Στη συγκινητική νουβέλα της, η Kayadelen ασχολείται με την άσχημη μοίρα της Halime Gulsu, μιας αφοσιωμένης δασκάλας που δίδαξε στην Τουρκία και συμμετείχε στο κίνημα Hizmet. Το κίνημα αυτό επηρεαζόταν από τις ιδέες και τους σκοπούς του ακαδημαϊκού Φετουλάχ Γκιουλέν. Το κίνημα Hizmet επεδίωκε μια πιο ελεύθερη, πιο ισότιμη και πιο βιώσιμη Τουρκία.

Η Gulsu ήταν μια εξαιρετικά αφοσιωμένη δασκάλα. Δίδασκε στους μαθητές της και στήριξε πολλούς εξ αυτών, όταν συνελήφθησαν από το τουρκικό καθεστώς.

Το τουρκικό καθεστώς ήταν κατά του κινήματος Hizmet και όσων συνδέονταν μ’ αυτό. Η Gulsu και οι περισσότεροι φίλοι της ήταν σε δύσκολη κατάσταση. Ένιωθε πως παρακολουθούσαν κάθε βήμα της. Ήξερε πως ήταν στόχος του καθεστώτος και δεν είχε καλές διαθέσεις απέναντι της. Όπως περιγράφει η Kayadelen: ”Αν η καταπίεση ήταν φωτιά, η κακία τους ήταν ο άνεμος που την φούντωνε”. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, η Gulsu αρνήθηκε να υποκύψει και απέρριψε την ευκαιρία να εγκαταλείψει την χώρα της.  Πολλοί από την οικογένεια της ζούσαν στον Καναδά, οπότε συχνά θα μπορούσε να ταξιδεύει για να τους δει. Ωστόσο, ήταν μια περήφανη υπήκοος της Τουρκίας και επέλεξε να μείνει και να υπερασπιστεί τον εαυτό της εναντίον του καθεστώτος. Σημειώνεται πολλές φορές στο βιβλίο ότι έβλεπε τον εαυτό της ως πολίτη της Τουρκίας και αποφάσισε να παλέψει για ένα καλύτερο μέλλον για την χώρα της. Όμως, το καθεστώς διαφωνούσε μ’ αυτό.

Στις 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2018 η Gulsu συνελήφθη, επειδή συμμετείχε στο κίνημα Hizmet. Η σύλληψή της την αιφνιδίασε. H Gulsu ήξερε ότι την παρακολουθούσαν, αλλά δεν περίμενε ότι θα την συλλάμβαναν και θα κατέληγε στη φυλακή.

Αφού οι αντιτρομοκρατικές δυνάμεις της Μερσίνης εισέβαλαν στο διαμέρισμά της και έλεγξαν τα πάντα, της πέρασαν χειροπέδες και την οδήγησαν στην φυλακή στην πόλη Ταρσό.

Η Gulsu δεν ήταν υγιής. Υπέφερε από χρόνιο ερυθηματώδη λύκο, ένα αυτοάνοσο νόσημα, που απαιτούσε καθημερινή και εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία.

Όταν οι τουρκικές δυνάμεις την συνέλαβαν, πήρε γρήγορα μαζί της τα φάρμακα της ημέρας και τις συνταγές του ιατρού. Δυστυχώς, ξέχασε την εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία.

Μόλις η Gulsu έφθασε στη φυλακή, ζήτησε τα ιατρικά έγγραφά της που επιβεβαίωναν πως ήταν άρρωστη και χρειαζόταν εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία, αλλά τα έγγραφα δεν βρέθηκαν πουθενά.

Η Gulsu βρέθηκε σε δύσκολη κατάσταση που μάλιστα απειλούσε την ζωή της.

Μπήκε σ’ ένα γεμάτο κελί μαζί με πολλές άλλες γυναίκες. Το κελί προοριζόταν για 10 άτομα με 10 κρεβάτια και όταν έφθασε η ίδια, ήταν ήδη διπλάσιος ο αριθμός.

Κάποιες από τις κρατούμενες είχαν μωρά, αλλά δεν ήταν μαζί τους. Οι κρατούμενες αναγκάστηκαν να στείλουν τα παιδιά τους στο σπίτι, επειδή δεν μπορούσαν να τα φροντίζουν στη φυλακή.

Η Gulsu έζησε την εμπειρία από πρώτο χέρι: την ρουτίνα, την αβεβαιότητα, τις ιστορίες των άλλων κρατούμενων, αλλά όχι για πολύ. Τρεις μήνες μετά την σύλληψή της, η Gulsu πέθανε λόγω ιατρικής αμέλειας.

H Gulsu δεν είχε πρόσβαση στην εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία ή δεν της δόθηκαν φάρμακα για τον χρόνιο ερυθηματώδη λύκο. Η κατάστασή της χειροτέρευε, έβγαλε εξογκώματα και η αγωνία της ήταν τρομερή.

Η Gulsu αδυνάτιζε μέρα με την ημέρα. Όταν ο αδερφός της μπόρεσε να της φέρει τα φάρμακα, ήταν ήδη πάρα πολύ αργά. Η Gulsu δεν άντεχε τον πόνο και η ασθένειά της είχε εξελιχθεί. Σύμφωνα με τις συγκρατούμενες και την οικογένειά της, η Gulsu καταλάβαινε πως έρχεται το τέλος της.

Αφού υπέφερε για βδομάδες, επετράπη στην Gulsu η πρόσβαση σε νοσοκομείο, αλλά ήταν αργά. Όταν επέστρεψε στη φυλακή, οι συγκρατούμενες της, οι οποίες ήταν πλέον φίλες που την νοιάζονταν, έπρεπε να την μεταφέρουν, καθώς ήταν υπερβολικά αδύνατη και δεν μπορούσε να περπατήσει, την φρόντιζαν, την τάιζαν και προσεύχονταν γι’ αυτήν.

Δυστυχώς, τον Απρίλιο του 2018, στις 3:10, πέθανε μόνη της στον διάδρομο της φυλακής. ”Σαν ένα άδειο κουκούλι, το στεγνό σώμα έμεινε πίσω, για να αναπαυθεί εκεί” όπως έγραψε η Kayadelen στο βιβλίο της.

Η συγγραφέας Kayadelen αφηγείται την ιστορία σε πρώτο πρόσωπο, που είναι πιο εύκολο για τον αναγνώστη να καταλάβει τι πέρασε η δασκάλα κατά το δύσκολο διάστημα του εγκλεισμού της.

Το βιβλίο της Kayadelen είναι μια όμορφη εμπειρία με μια προσωπική άποψη για το τι βίωσε η Gulsu τις τελευταίες ημέρες της ζωής της. Μέσα από πολλές συνεντεύξεις με ανθρώπους που εργάζονταν στη φυλακή και με αυτούς που συνδέονταν με την Gulsu, η οργάνωση συγκέντρωσε ιστορίες για τον χρόνο της στη φυλακή και δημιούργησε την βάση για μια ιστορία που ειπώθηκε από τα βάθη της καρδιάς.

Το έργο της Kayadelen είναι μια δυνατή φωνή κατά της παραβίασης των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων στις φυλακές της Τουρκίας. Οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας έκαναν μια εξαιρετική δουλειά αποδίδοντας την ελάχιστη δικαιοσύνη στην Halime Gulsu, την ”θεϊκή δασκάλα”.

Το βιβλίο διατίθεται εδώ: The Life of Halime Gulsu: The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison: Kayadelen, Zeynep, Girdap, Hafza, Korku, Ummu, Nazif, Muhsin, Y., E., W., Barbara, Hur, Hande, Silenced Turkey, Advocates of, Publishing, AST: 9798365685956: Amazon.com: Books

Μετάφραση από την Αλεξία Καψαμπέλη /Translated by Alexia Kapsabeli from the original The life of Halime Gulsu: The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison.

La vie de Halime Gulsu : l’enseignant céleste assassiné en prison

Halime Gülsu – Le système carcéral turc défaillant a entraîné la mort tragique d’une âme unique. Compte rendu de la vie de Halime Gülsu : L’enseignante céleste assassinée en prison (2022)

Écrit par Vivien Kretz

Traduit par Laura Goubran

How can prisoners not be sentenced to death but still be murdered?

How do civilians pay for their lives? Questions like this arise when thinking about the fate of Halime Gülsu.

Written by Zeynep Kayadelen and published by the US human rights organization Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), the book, titled “Halime Gülsu: The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison,” is based on the accounts of Gülsu’s cellmates who witnessed her final moments as well as friends and family. She died as an inmate in a prison ward in the Mersin province in Turkey due to insufficient access to medical aid.

Halime Gülsu’s story was now reconstructed by Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), a Turkish NGO. Author Zeynep Kayadelen incites her work with a preface: “We have died many times” (Kayadelen 2022, 9). The hopelessness peaks through her words. She dedicates this work of literature to those who have died from painful deaths fighting for a cause they cared about.

In her heartfelt novel, Kayadelen touches on the saddening fate of Halime Gülsu, a dedicated teacher who taught in Turkey and was a part of the Hizmet movement. This movement is influenced by the ideas and goals of scholar Fethullah Gulen. The Hizmet movement is dedicated towards a freer, more equal, and more sustainable Turkey.

Gülsu was a highly devoted teacher. She taught her students during her working hours and supported them when many of them were persecuted by the Turkish regime.

Turkey’s regime worked against those affiliated with Hizmet and those who were part of the movement. Gülsu and most of her friends were in a difficult situation. She felt watched for her every step. She knew that the regime was after her and that they did not mean well to her. Kayadelen described it as: “If their oppression was a fire, their animosity was the wind raging it up”. However, Gülsu refused to give in and declined the opportunity to leave the country. Much of her family lived in Canada, so she often could go abroad to see her family. However, she was a very proud Turkish citizen and chose to stay to defend herself against the regime. It is stressed multiple times throughout the book that she saw herself as a citizen of Turkey and decided to fight for a promising future for her country. However, the leaders of the regime disagreed with this.

Comment des prisonniers peuvent-ils ne pas être condamnés à mort mais être tout de même assassinés ?

Comment les civils paient-ils pour leur vie ? C’est ce genre de questions que l’on se pose lorsqu’on réfléchit au sort de Halime Gülsu.

Écrit par Zeynep Kayadelen et publié par l’organisation américaine de défense des droits de l’homme Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), le livre intitulé “Halime Gülsu : The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison” (Halime Gülsu, l’enseignante céleste assassinée en prison) est basé sur les récits des compagnons de cellule de Gülsu qui ont assisté à ses derniers instants, ainsi que sur les récits d’amis et de membres de sa famille. Elle est décédée alors qu’elle était détenue dans une prison de la province de Mersin, en Turquie, faute d’accès suffisant à l’aide médicale.

L’histoire de Halime Gülsu a été reconstituée par Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), une ONG turque. L’auteure Zeynep Kayadelen commence son travail par une préface : “Nous sommes morts plusieurs fois” (Kayadelen 2022, 9). Le désespoir transparaît dans ses mots. Elle dédie cette œuvre littéraire à ceux qui sont morts d’une mort douloureuse en se battant pour une cause qui leur tenait à cœur.

Dans ce roman sincère, Kayadelen évoque le triste sort d’Halime Gülsu, une enseignante dévouée qui enseignait en Turquie et faisait partie du mouvement Hizmet. Ce mouvement est imprégné des idées et des objectifs de l’érudit Fethullah Gulen. Le mouvement Hizmet se consacre à une Turquie plus libre, plus égalitaire et plus durable.

Gülsu était une enseignante très dévouée. Elle enseignait ses élèves pendant ses heures de travail et les soutenait lorsque nombre d’entre eux étaient persécutés par le régime turc.

Le régime turc s’est attaqué à ceux qui étaient affiliés à Hizmet et à ceux qui faisaient partie du mouvement. Gülsu et la plupart de ses amis se trouvaient dans une situation difficile. Elle se sentait surveillée à chaque instant. Elle savait que le régime était à sa poursuite et qu’il ne lui voulait pas du bien. Kayadelen l’a décrit comme suit : “Si leur oppression était un feu, leur animosité était le vent qui l’attisait”. Cependant, Gülsu a refusé de céder et a décliné l’opportunité de quitter le pays. Une grande partie de sa famille vivant au Canada, elle pouvait souvent se rendre à l’étranger pour voir sa famille. Cependant, elle était très fière d’être une citoyenne turque et a choisi de rester pour se défendre contre le régime. Tout au long du livre, il est souligné à plusieurs reprises qu’elle se considérait comme une citoyenne turque et qu’elle avait décidé de se battre pour assurer un avenir prometteur à son pays. Cependant, les dirigeants du régime n’étaient pas d’accord avec elle.

Le 20 février 2018, Gülsu a été arrêtée pour son appartenance au mouvement Hizmet. Son arrestation l’a prise par surprise. Gülsu savait qu’elle était surveillée mais ne s’attendait pas à être arrêtée et incarcérée.

Après que l’équipe des forces spéciales antiterroristes de Mersin ait fouillé son appartement et tout démonté, ils l’ont menottée et emmenée à la prison de Tarsus.

Gülsu n’était pas en bonne santé. Elle souffrait d’un lupus érythémateux chronique, une maladie auto-immune, et devait prendre des médicaments tous les jours et toutes les semaines pour traiter sa maladie.

Lorsque les forces turques ont arraché l’enseignante de son domicile, elle s’est empressée de prendre ses médicaments quotidiens et son dossier médical pour les emporter avec elle. Malheureusement, Gülsu a oublié de prendre ses médicaments hebdomadaires lors de son arrestation.

Une fois arrivée à la prison, Gülsu a demandé ses documents médicaux, qui indiquaient qu’elle était malade et avait besoin de ses médicaments hebdomadaires et d’une aide médicale, mais ses dossiers médicaux étaient introuvables. Gülsu s’est retrouvée dans une situation terrifiante qui mettait sa vie en danger.

Elle a été placée dans une cellule surpeuplée avec d’autres femmes. La cellule était prévue pour dix personnes avec dix lits, et lorsqu’elle y est entrée, elle était déjà au double de sa capacité.

Certaines prisonnières avaient des bébés, mais on les leur a retirés. Les détenues étaient obligées de renvoyer leurs jeunes enfants chez elles parce qu’elles ne pouvaient pas s’en occuper en prison.

Gülsu a tout vécu : la routine, les incertitudes et les histoires des autres prisonnières, mais pas pour longtemps. Trois mois après son arrestation, Gülsu est décédée des suites d’une négligence médicale.

Gülsu n’a pas eu accès à ses médicaments hebdomadaires et n’a jamais reçu de traitement médical pour sa maladie chronique, le lupus. Son état s’est aggravé et elle a développé des excroissances et des masses – elle souffrait terriblement.

Gülsu s’affaiblit de jour en jour. Lorsque son frère a enfin pu lui remettre les médicaments, il était déjà trop tard. Gülsu ne pouvait plus supporter la douleur et la maladie agressive avait trop progressé. Selon les récits des détenus et de la famille, Gülsu était consciente de ses derniers jours.

Après des semaines de souffrance, Gülsu a finalement été autorisée à se rendre à l’hôpital, mais il était trop tard. Après son retour à la prison, ses codétenues, qui étaient devenues des amies attentionnées, ont dû la porter car elle était trop faible pour marcher – elles se sont occupées d’elle, l’ont nourrie et ont prié pour elle.

Malheureusement, en avril 2018, à 3h10, elle est morte seule dans un couloir de prison. “Comme un cocon vide, son corps desséché a été laissé derrière elle, allongé là”, écrit Kayadelenin dans son livre.

L’auteur Kayadelen écrit son livre à la première personne, ce qui permet au lecteur de mieux comprendre ce que l’enseignante a dû endurer pendant son séjour difficile en prison.

Le livre de Kayadelen est une belle expérience de lecture qui donne un aperçu personnel de ce que Gülsu a vécu pendant ses derniers jours. Grâce à de nombreux entretiens avec des personnes travaillant à la prison et des proches de Gülsu, l’organisation a recueilli les récits de son séjour en prison et a créé une base solide pour une histoire racontée avec cœur.

Le travail de Kayadelen est une voix forte contre toutes les violations des droits de l’homme dans les prisons turques. L’organisation Advocates of Silenced Turkey a fait un excellent travail en donnant un petit morceau de justice à Halime Gülsu, “l’enseignante céleste”.

L’ouvrage peut être acheté ici:


Historia de Neslihan Ozcan Sahin: Después de toda su lucha, una profesora refugiada comienza a enseñar de nuevo

Escrito por Georgette Schönberger

Neslihan es una refugiada de Turquía que llegó a los Países Bajos para construir una nueva vida con su esposo y dos hijos.

En agosto de 2018, Neslihan dejó su vida en Turquía y huyó a Grecia. Allí pasó tres meses antes de venir a los Países Bajos. Ha vivido con su familia en viviendas sociales en Amstelveen durante algunos años. Vivió con su familia durante 19 meses en diferentes AZCs en los Países Bajos. “Conozco los Países Bajos mejor que un holandés promedio”, afirma Neslihan.

En Turquía, Neslihan trabajó durante mucho tiempo como profesora de química, física y biología. Estaba ansiosa por empezar a enseñar de nuevo cuando llegó a los Países Bajos. Afortunadamente, encontrar trabajo no fue difícil. A través del proyecto “Statushouders voor de Klas”, aprendió cómo funciona el sistema escolar holandés, lo que finalmente la ayudó a conseguir una pasantía. Además, Neslihan ha trabajado como voluntaria en una escuela. Allí trabajó como asistente de enseñanza técnica en la escuela secundaria Apollo en Ámsterdam. En la misma escuela, pudo crecer y, después de un tiempo, también se le permitió enseñar dos días a la semana. El próximo año solo enseñará y ya no trabajará como asistente.

¿Por qué decidiste convertirte en profesora en su momento?

“Disfruto enseñando; no lo veo como un trabajo porque es una pasión mía”. Lleva 18 años enseñando y todavía le gusta mucho. Después de completar su educación, comenzó a enseñar de inmediato. Eligio ser profesora de química, física y biología porque tenía las calificaciones más altas en estas tres materias y le parecían temas divertidos.

¿Por qué decidiste venir a los Países Bajos?

“Leímos en Internet y las noticias y a menudo escuchamos que en los Países Bajos, las personas son libres y pueden compartir sus opiniones o ideas. Desafortunadamente, esto no es así en Turquía, donde no eres libre y no puedes decir lo que quieres. Incluso los niños a menudo van a la cárcel por revelar sus opiniones”. Por esta razón, el hermano y la hermana de Neslihan también vinieron a los Países Bajos con sus familias. Neslihan ve a su familia cada semana.

¿Qué desafíos enfrentaste cuando llegaste a los Países Bajos?

Neslihan es una refugiada política y era considerada una terrorista en su propio país debido a sus opiniones. Toda su familia tuvo que huir de Turquía en barco. El viaje para llegar a los Países Bajos fue intenso. Tuvo que pagar mucho dinero y negociar con traficantes de personas, lo cual puede ser bastante peligroso.

Además, Neslihan quería aprender holandés; esto fue bastante difícil al principio. Como no estaba obligada a integrarse entonces, no pudo tomar un curso de holandés gratuito durante su estancia en el AZC. Sin embargo, aprendió algo de holandés de amigos y voluntarios en el AZC. Por esto, está muy agradecida. Neslihan quería integrarse y asimilarse, por lo que la comprensión del idioma era fundamental. Después de una larga lucha, finalmente logró pedir prestado dinero con el cual pudo tomar un curso.

Ocasionalmente todavía tiene problemas con el idioma holandés, especialmente con ‘er’ más las diferentes preposiciones que encuentra difíciles. Además, todavía no entiende ciertas expresiones holandesas, pero cree que eventualmente lo logrará.

¿Cuáles son las diferencias entre los sistemas escolares turcos y holandeses?

“No hay muchas diferencias, creo. Por supuesto, algunas cosas son bastante similares. Por ejemplo, los adolescentes son simplemente adolescentes y se comportan de la misma manera en ciertos aspectos, pero los estudiantes en los Países Bajos siempre tienen la oportunidad de avanzar debido a los diferentes niveles escolares. Por lo tanto, el sistema en los Países Bajos es mejor porque esa oportunidad está disponible”. Neslihan explica que en Turquía solo hay un nivel y que cada estudiante tiene que aprender las mismas materias y hacer el mismo examen. Entonces, si este nivel es demasiado alto, no tienes otra opción para continuar estudiando, por lo que muchos jóvenes abandonan la escuela.

Otra gran diferencia es que hay poca jerarquía en los Países Bajos. “Mi director y mi líder de equipo son simplemente mis colegas. Somos vistos como iguales y tratados de la misma manera. Puedo llamarlos por su nombre. En Turquía, tienes que dirigirte a todos como señor o señora. No quiero más jerarquía en Turquía; me gustaría cambiar eso”.

¿Hay algo que te gustaría compartir?

“Me gustaría decir que todos somos personas que podemos vivir juntas; solo tienes que tener respeto por los demás. Debes tratar a todos con respeto y crear un ambiente seguro y agradable. Vinimos aquí por nuestra libertad, y Holanda nos ha dado muchos derechos. Por lo tanto, tienes que hacer algo por los Países Bajos; tienes que usar tus habilidades para ayudar aquí, para integrarte. Dar ese primer paso es fácil: saludar a tus vecinos, por ejemplo, o simplemente charlar con alguien y ser amable”.

Neslihan también quería recordar a todos que muchas personas todavía están amenazadas en Turquía o olvidadas en la cárcel. Siempre puedes hacer algo por ellas, por ejemplo, compartiendo algo en Twitter o hablando de ello.

Traducido por Daniel Ordoñez del original Story of Neslihan Ozcan Sahin: After all her struggle, a refugee teacher begins to teach again.