Turkish gov’t cancels licenses of 20,000 teachers due to alleged Gülen links

Turkey’s Education Ministry has canceled the teaching licenses of 19,962 teachers and closed down the private schools they used to work for due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to a statement from the ministry.

The ministry’s statement came in response to a parliamentary question directed by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. The question was intended for Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.

The ministry said the licenses of 19,962 teachers were canceled through government decrees as of Sept.5 and that the licenses of teachers who were acquitted in court were reinstated.

The crackdown on critical thinking in Turkey with an unprecedented witch hunt targeting teachers, academics and other professionals in the education sector has dealt a huge blow to free thought in Turkey, according to a report released by SCF.

The government of President Erdoğan has jailed some 20,000 instructors and arbitrarily fired 34,185 public school teachers and 5,719 academics including professors from state universities within the last two years alone. They were branded as “terrorists” and “coup plotters” without any effective administrative or judicial probe and as such marked for life.

The government shut down 1,069 privately run schools, most of which were the nation’s best performing science schools and were affiliated with the Gülen movement, and closed down 15 universities that were run by privately held foundations. As a result, 2,465 academics and 54,350 teachers instantly became unemployed. With the support staff who worked in these schools, the total number of people who lost their jobs reached 65,214. The government also canceled the licenses of 22,474 teachers, making it impossible for them to continue working as teachers in other institutions.

In total, 96,719 teachers and academics were purged from Turkey’s public and private educational institutions. This number does not include the support staff that was hired to run schools and universities in administrative and other capacities.

Most of the shuttered institutions were transformed into religious schools that are designed to raise a new generation of Islamist supporters for Erdoğan’s AKP.

When all the closed institutions are taken into account, the total loss in value including fixed property and land is around $100 billion, one source estimates. The crackdown included foreign students who came to Turkey for study or Turkish students who were sent abroad on government scholarships. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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