A Refugee Turned Activist: FERIDE ÖZER*

Following the July 15 incidents, many people had to leave Turkey. Among them are a large number of university students as well. Feride Özer, a student of political science and public administration, is one of them. Feride Özer, who lives in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, is a young talent forced to leave her country. Feride has been in the Netherlands for nine months, and she recently came to the fore with her support for actions that brought human rights violations to the schedule.

 

Refugee activist Feride Özer told her story and her dreams to TR724:

“I came from Turkey, and I was a student of political science and public administration back there. I have been living in the Netherlands for about nine months. During the summer of 10th grade, my school Anafen Science High School was shut down by a government decree. My friends and I had to go through a transition period to new schools for weeks. During this period, we visited district national education directorates under the Ministry of National Education. Each of us was given different information during these visits. Officials talked about the fact that they are keeping a tab on us and that we will not be able to work in the future, and that they will probably send us all to the religious vocational high schools, strongholds of Erdogan regime and its doctrines, or that our education life would be completely over. Later, I switched to Anatolian High School. I spent two years there filled with pressure and social isolation. At the end of this period, I came to realize that my chances in Turkey are on thin ice and that I have no future there. So I decided to leave Turkey and come to the Netherlands.

 

Dutch people always welcomed us warmly and sincerely. For that, I’m forever thankful. Yet I am saddened as there are still many prisoners in Turkey that are not released even when there is a new coronavirus threat in prisons. My former teachers, neighbors, some of my relatives are within this group of imprisoned people. I hope these tough times end in their favor as soon as possible. With the demonstration we organized on March 8, we tried to make the voices of female prisoners in Turkey heard all over the world. If only this were the last protest we had to organize, but so long as the Erdogan government continues the state oppression and social genocide, we will continue to stand up to these persecutions.”

‘SOCIETY NEEDS TO STAND UP TO THE INJUSTICE’

 

“If our people do not remain silent and stand up to injustice, it will affect the government because governments go in the direction of the people. The rest of society should say no to injustice.”

Feride Özer thinks that she would return to Turkey if and when things get back to normal there: “I’d like to get back to Turkey and work towards a plan to prevent Turkey from going back to such dark times. Public education is essential in this regard. These sorts of tough times keep happening every 30-40 years in Turkey. I will do my best to prevent this from happening again. Finally, the recent bitter news I learned is Ahmet Burhan Atac’s death. Ahmet was a child who was abandoned to a terminal disease before the eyes of everyone in Turkey. Maybe if he had the opportunity to access early treatment or if at least he had his father by his side, his morale would have been higher, and we would not have experienced this pain yesterday. The life of a child is not that cheap. I hope those who caused this death will get what they deserve as soon as possible. A kid who had been barred from going abroad for medical treatment had passed away similarly in the past. This is a challenging period to go through. May Allah give patience to his parents and family. These events should come to an end now.”

 

 

Feride Ozer is one of the young and active member of Broken Chalk.

Translated by Broken Team from https://www.tr724.com/bir-multeci-aktivist-feride-ozer/

UN UPR 2019 TURKEY REPORT: Forcibly Shut-Down Private Educational Institutions And Violations Of Rights Of Their Founders

On the night of 15th July 2016, the so-called/theatrical coup took place, and even though it was at its initial phase and no judicial decisions had been made yet, President Erdogan came out on national television and alleged The Hizmet Movement is the responsible party for what has taken place. He called on the people to go out into the streets and defend their democracy. He targeted the members and institutions of the Hizmet movement as coup plotters, and on that same night, the masses he called to the streets attacked the Hizmet Movement affiliated institutions and, in particular, the movement’s educational institutions. Many educational institutions were set on fire, causing substantial damage.

The institutions which were shut down by Emergency Decree Law (KHK) has been turned over to TMSF (Savings Deposit Insurance Fund). TMSF was given the authority to liquidate and purge these transferred companies, should TMSF deem it to be necessary. Through such practice, in other words, by making decisions regarding the personal assets of the shareholders without their consent, the Government has deprived of their right to own property.

The financial damage of companies and educational institutions following 15th July 2016, accumulated as follows: the total value of real estate belonging to the educational institutions serving under more than 350 companies is 3.115.265.000 (three billion one hundred fifteen million two hundred and sixty-five thousand) Euros. The total amount of the recorded inventory of the companies and the educational institutions is 300 million euros. Apart from this, these companies’ facilities, buildings, and lands value billions of Euros. The Turkish Government has confiscated all assets of the aforementioned company owners, reaching billions of Euros.

An arrest warrant was issued for shareholders of the companies, most of whom were taken under custody and sentenced to 7 to 22 years in prison.

There are several people among the company owners that could not endure imprisonment and torture, went through psychological problems, lost their family integrity, committed suicide, became sick and passed away because they were not able to receive proper treatment.

Recommendations

1. Only due to holding the ownership or being a part of Gulen affiliated schools, hundreds of people have been prosecuted, unlawfully labeled, exposed to false claims to be a member of a terrorist organization, sacked from their jobs, held custody longer than usual, arrested without any predicament and even tortured to death. Constitutional rights should be immediately reinstated. Unlawful arrests and custody should end immediately. Turkish Government should be urged to comply with the international human rights treaties.

2. Teachers, academics, and other employees whose right for an agreement were taken away as their institutions were unjustly shut down and whose employment authorizations were canceled, thereby being restrained from conducting their profession should be rehabilitated. All damages until today, with default interest, should be compensated to them. The unpaid monthly payment of those who have been retired should be paid back, including the severance pay interests.

3. The criteria of compliance with the laws should be met in the proceedings of confiscations of properties due to financial offenses in the eye of public authorities and law. The confiscation of the school owners’ properties should be removed, and the property should return to initial owners. The prohibition of the school owners and teachers to operate should be uplifted without any reservations or annotations. The seized assets of 1,605 private schools, more than 800 private teaching institutions, 848 student dormitories, and 361 other educational institutions, if possible, should either be returned to initial owners or compensated by paying the statutory damages.

UN UPR 2019 Turkey Report: Shutdown Of Educational Institutions With Emergency State Decrees: Effects On Students and Parents

138.000 students were affected by the shutdown of more than 2.300 educational institutions including tutoring centers, high schools, dormitories, and universities associated with the Hizmet movement after the failed coup attempt in July 2016. These students and their parents were blacklisted, designated as terrorists, and in some cases dismissed from their jobs, arrested and tortured. All the assets of closed institutions were confiscated without any court decision.

Children’s education prospects and their rights were disregarded by the authorities. On the contrary, a booklet that shows the Hizmet Movement as a terrorist organization was distributed to primary school students aged between 5 to 10. The students transferred to public schools were bullied and felt severely distressed. The teaching licenses of 22.474 teachers were revoked.

The students who graduated from the closed universities could not get their diplomas and were discriminated against at their new universities where they were transferred.

33.128 teachers; 5.328 academics and 1194 administrative staff working under the Ministry of National Education (MoH) were expelled from their jobs with the State of Emergency Decrees. In the same period, 24.490 teachers were suspended unlawfully. 1194 administrative staff have been dismissed which paralyzed the organizational structure of the school system.

Given the current shortage of teachers reaching 144.000, the expelling of 33.000 teachers and 1194 administrative staff and the additional 138.000 students transferred to public schools has caused profound problems in the education system.

Recommendations

  • Member states should take necessary measures to ensure the physical, mental, and social development of children and preserve the dignity of them accordingly.
  • Shut-down schools should be reopened and their damages should be duly compensated.
  • The students’ right to education has been severely deprived, it should be reinstated with no reservations and annotations.

UN UPR 2019 Turkey Report: Report For The Victimization Of Employees Of The Institutions Shut Down By Emergency Decrees

There were around 2.300 educational institutions associated with the Hizmet movement in Turkey including high schools, universities, tutoring centers, and dormitories, which were well-regarded and preferred by large segments of the society. These institutions received respected international prizes at both national and international levels in the areas of mathematics and social and natural sciences.

The main reason behind this success was the high level of devotion of their staff. The government spuriously blamed the Hizmet movement for a failed coup attempt in July 2016 without any evidence and designated it a terrorist organization. After that, the private educational institutions associated with the Hizmet movement were unjustly shut down without a court decision and their assets were confiscated.

In this aftermath, 1.065 were private high schools, 361 tutoring centers, and 848 were private dormitories were shut down. Employees of those institutions, a total of 22.474 people, were dismissed and their teaching licenses were also

The employment prospects for these teachers in the formal sector are extremely limited as they were labeled and blacklisted by authorities and their professional experience and background do not fit any area but education in which they were banned to work.

 

Press Release for 5th October World Teachers’ Day

Today, 5 October is commemorated as the World Teachers’ Day. As the International Broken Chalk Platform and Victim Educator Platform, we are here not only to celebrate the World Teachers’ Day, but also to be the voice of the teachers who have been exposed to torture, put in prison, exiled, and lost their lives as a result of oppression and persecution in Turkey and in the other parts of the World. We would like to draw attention to the victimization that Erdogan Regime has created in Turkey and around the world.

Turkey’s Erdogan Regime has put into practice its aimed dictatorial regime with more confidence day by day with the help of the so-called coup attempt on 15 July and the State of Emergency, which are followed by many unjust practices. By violating the principle of separation of powers, impartiality and independence of the jurisdiction, the Erdogan Regime desires to control all the opponents, especially Kurds, Alevis, Liberals and Hizmet movement. Moreover, with unprecedented hatred and cruelty, the Erdogan Regime declared the Hizmet Movement as ‘terrorist’ and cracked down innocent people by using all the means of the public and private institutions.

A huge number of people from almost every profession group were dismissed from their jobs with a series of decree-laws by the Erdogan Regime. For example, more than 126,000 people were expelled from their positions in public institutions. And, 34.000 of those people were teachers and 6.081 were academicians.

 

Again, with those Decrees, 15 universities, 1,065 primary schools, secondary schools and high schools, 980 preparatory schools, 848 dormitories were closed down. As a result of this, over 35,000 teachers and more than 30,000 personnel have been left unemployed. In addition, public unions as well as unions of employers and employees, namely EKASEN Employers Union (EKASEN), PAKEĞITIMSEN Union and AKTIFSEN Union, were closed.

The Interior Ministry has revealed that the Erdogan Regime initiated a criminal investigation over 511,000 people. More than 125,000 people have been detained for allegedly being a member of a terrorist organization, and there are currently more than 31,000 people kept in prison for the same reason. Within the scope of these investigations, almost all teachers were subjected to investigation with false accusations of being a member of a terrorist organization.

 

The detainees were also subjected to single cell application, long detention and unlawful trials. Apart from these practices being insulting punishment in itself, the victims were exposed to torture and inhumane treatment. 40-50 people have been kept in the wards normally designed for 8-12 people, and even the basic human needs have not been offered.

There are 54 documented, suspicious death incidents in prisons. Those were apparently caused by torture and lack of medical care. For instance, Gökhan Açıkkollu died under detention due to torture. His medication was not provided, and the images of his death were published on social media.

Due to unlawful and injustice practices of the current government, oppression of the society, cancelation of teachers’ diplomas, work permits and passports, hundreds and thousands of people had to leave their country illegally by risking their lives. However, some of them, including babies and children, lost their lives during their journeys across the Aegean Sea and Evros River. Some examples include the Maden family, the mother and father were teachers, who died in the Aegean Sea with their three children. Doğan and Abdulrezzak families died in the Evros river with their children, and Halil Dinç, who was also a teacher, died of a heart attack in Athens, Greece. Most recently, a boat carriying 19 educators including academics fleeing from Erdogan regime in the Aegean Sea was capsized last week, and 7 people died in total: 1 infant, 4 children and 2 women.

 

Since 2016, there have been 29 abduction incidents in Turkey so far and some of those who were abducted are teachers and academics. The conditions and locations of the victims have been unknown for months. It is almost certain that they have been exposed to torture and other kinds of ill-treatment.

Abductions operated by Erdogan Regime are not limited to the borders of Turkey; they have been others targeting the educators living abroad. The Turkish Foreign Minister have been boastful about the abduction of 100 people from 18 countries by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency. These people are known to have been exposed to severe torture. Teachers and other professionals have been abducted in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bulgaria, Gabon, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan and Qatar.
Esteemed public and press members, we are educators and their families who have come to your country as refugees. We would like to thank you for accepting us to your country and providing us with opportunities.

 

Turkish teachers who are normally supposed to be together with their students in schools are kept in prisons today. Unfortunately, some of them already died in difficult conditions in Turkey or in exile, and some others died in suspicious ways. However, as dedicated teachers, we are determined to continue to educate students and contribute to society and humanity wherever we live. We will also express the unlawful and fascist practices of the Erdogan regime anytime, anywhere, and will continue to claim our rights through the national and international judiciary. We believe that we should pursue this for the sake of the 868 babies and their mothers who are currently kept in prisons. We should do this for the innocent educators who have unjustly been branded as ‘terrorists’. And, finally, for our friends who passed away during these hard times.

 

We wish all the teachers in the world a happy Teachers’ Day!

Respectfully announced to the public.

Broken Chalk

5th October 2019

Broken Chalk: Not Only Prepare the Reports but Also Follow Them Up

As Broken Chalk volunteers, we did not only submit the reports but also followed up.

Our actions were,

We attended the 35th UPR Pre-Session Turkey in December 2019 in Geneva. Try to get in touch with the permanent missions of each country that are present in the meeting. We present our factsheet to the permanent missions. Moreover, give more information on human rights violations in Education in Turkey. We had a short meeting with some countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg.

We send an e-mail to all permanent missions of UN member countries about our submissions.

We attended the 35th UPR Session Turkey in January 2020 in Geneva to see the effect of our works on the recommendations of each country. Moreover, we had a meeting with some countries such as Germany, Iceland, Denmark, Fiji, Croatia, Norway, Italy, and many more countries. We handover our factsheets directly over 30 countries.

In the end, Turkey received 321 recommendations from 124 countries and did not accept 19 of the recommendations.

20 December UN International Human Solidarity Day in Amsterdam

20 December 2019 / Amsterdam



Today, we are gathered regarding 20 December United Nations Humanitarian Solidarity Day. As International Broken Chalk Platform, we are hereby to be the voice of all educators, students and all humanity who have been deprived of their lives as a result of pressures or wars, who have not been able to reach equal and quality education in the world, who cannot live in peace and justice, who have been prisoned unlawfully, who have been subjected to torture, and who have lost their lives as a result of pressu res or wars.

In all around the world, millions of people have been forced to leave their countries as a result of many unlawfulness and wars, where all these people started to live as refugees in the countries that they apply for asylum. In recent years, thousands of Turkish educators and other professionals, including us, have been forced to become refugees in Europe and other countries as a result of the oppression of Erdogan regime.

Turkey’s Erdogan Regime has put into practice its aimed dictatorial regime with more confidence day by day with the help of the so-called coup attempt on 15 July and the State of Emergency, which are followed by many unjust practices. By violating the principle of separation of powers, impartiality and independence of the jurisdiction, the Erdogan Regime desires to control all the opponents, especially Kurds, Alevis, Liberals and Hizmet movement.

There are 54 documented, suspicious death incidents in prisons. Those were apparently caused by torture and lack of medical care. For instance, Gökhan Açıkkollu died under detention due to torture. His medication was not provided, and the images of his death were published on social media.

Due to unlawful and injustice practices of the current government, hundreds and thousands of people had to leave their country illegally by risking their lives. However, there are many people lost their lives during their journeys across the Aegean Sea and Evros River

As a result of unlawful and fascist practices of the Erdogan regime, 780 babies are kept in prison together with their mothers. In addition, there are thousands of babies and children struggling for life under difficult conditions due to both mothers’ and fathers’ are prisoned at the same time.

Since 2016, there have been 29 abduction incidents in Turkey so far. However, abductions operated by Erdogan Regime are not limited to the borders of Turkey; they have been others targeting the educators living abroad. The Turkish Foreign Minister has been boastful about the abduction of 100 people from 18 countries by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency. These people are known to have been exposed to severe torture. Teachers and other professionals have been abducted in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bulgaria, Gabon, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan and Qatar.

In the past, Turkey’s Erdogan regime, who wants to be the member of the European Union, labelled people as terrorist to those who were helping people and put those people in prison. And also today, people are found guilty and are imprisoned just because they are helping people by the same regime.

Changing the conditions of today’s world – particularly difficult conditions that we come across in Turkey, announcing these to humanity and ensuring the rule of law is only possible through the solidarity of the humanity.

Broken Chalk /NEDERLAND – @BrokenChalkNL