Fears for Turkey’s schools and colleges

 

Sir, – The Turkish government continues to attack and undermine education and exert increasingly oppressive control on schools under the guise of responding to the failed coup attempt last summer.

According to the Egitim-Sen trade union, which represents third-level education, almost 40,000 education workers have already been dismissed, including 2,219 who lost their jobs under the latest emergency decree at the end of October.

In addition, 2.829 education staff have been arrested without trial, while legal procedures have been initiated against 6,792 academics and administration staff.

Unfounded and illicit dismissals, investigations, persecutions and arrests continue on a daily basis.

The Turkish government is seeking to impose gender-separated and faith-based (Quran) classes.

Official statistics show 1,597 religious schools in 2015, contrary to the Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guaranteeing that “state parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers strongly condemns this attack on education and education trade unions. We call on Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to raise the protection of human and trade union rights in Turkey as a matter of urgency and to demand that Turkey abides by international commitments and obligations. – Yours, etc,

MIKE JENNINGS,

General Secretary,

Irish Federation

of University Teachers,

Dublin 2.