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.
5th October 2019