Principal accused of harassment reappointed to girls high school

The principal of a coeducational high school who has been accused by four female teachers of sexual harassment has been reappointed to a girls’ high school, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

The principal, identified only by the initials N.A., has served as administrator of the Sincan Süleyman Demirel Anatolian High School in Ankara for the past four years and was accused of harassing four teachers at the school.

The teachers alleged that N.A. summoned them to his office to verbally abuse and sexually harass them. Additionally, it was claimed that N.A. boasted of his connections to former education minister İsmet Yılmaz and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group chairman Abdullah Güler, implying his actions would go unpunished. He was previously a parliamentary candidate for the AKP, the report said.

The alleged victims filed complaints against him with both the Ministry of Education and the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Following the complaints, inspectors appointed by the ministry concluded that no action was necessary against N.A. Similarly, the prosecutor’s office decided not to pursue the case. In their decision, the prosecutors described N.A.’s alleged inappropriate behavior, such as touching his genital area while speaking with female teachers, as merely due to “itching and reflex actions.”

Despite the lack of formal disciplinary action, N.A. voluntarily left his position at Sincan Süleyman Demirel Anatolian High School.

N.A. will begin his new role as principal of Sincan Girls Imam Hatip High School, another institution located in Ankara, on July 12, according to the report.

In 2021 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan withdrew the country from the Istanbul Convention, a European treaty on combating violence against women which defines sexual harassment as a form of violence and mandates state parties to implement legal protection mechanisms for women suffering from it.

The country also has chronic problems of femicide and violence against women. According to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, at least 315 women were murdered by men and 248 women died under suspicious circumstances throughout 2023.

Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the ruling AKP government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.

Turkish courts have repeatedly drawn criticism due to their tendency to hand down lenient sentences to offenders, claiming that the crime was “motivated by passion” or by interpreting victims’ silence as consent.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!