Turkish government ordered private companies to not hire teachers who were dismissed from public schools as part of massive purge launched against critics and dissidents in Turkey, official documents revealed.
The documents, obtained by the Stockholm Center for Freedom, have showed Education Ministry issued instructions to prevent teachers who lost their jobs from getting a new employment in private sector. The case involved a teacher named Gül Hatice Hasekisoydan who was dismissed from public job along with 28,162 other teachers by a government decree No.672 that was issued on Sept.1, 2016. She is a victim of government profiling of unsuspecting public employees who are believed to be critical of government policies.
There was no administrative or judicial investigation that requires tens of thousands of people lose their jobs on a single day. The authorities did not even bother to seek her defense testimony before moving on with the dismissal.
After learning her dismissal from the long list of purges that was published in the Official Gazette, Hasekisoydan filed legal motions and administrative petitions to challenge the decision. In the meantime, she began searching for a new job in private sector to support herself and her family. Finally, she received a positive response from a private language tutoring center. However, the company required her to provide a document from the government saying she can be employed without any problems.
Hasekisoydan wrote to the district bureau of Education Ministry in İstanbul’s Kartal district, stating that she had managed to find a job but company asked of her to obtain a document from the Ministry of Education that she could be hired in private sector. She also asked for clarification on reasons why she was dismissed from public school as well.
In a response to her petition on Oct.26, 2016, Tuncay Oruç, a department head at the district bureau of Education Ministry in Kartal, wrote that she could not work in private education institution because she was dismissed by the government executive order. Oruç attached an official letter from Provincial Education Directorate of İstanbul Governor’s Office stating that “an assessment made to the effect that that member of education personnel who were dismissed by the government decree No.672 under emergency rule cannot work in private educational institutions”. The letter was signed by Mehmet Nezir Eryarsoy, deputy head of Provincial Education Directorate and sent to Kartal bureau Oct.24, 2016.
Well over 70,000 teachers have been the victims of a purge that was launched in the aftermath of failed coup bid on July 15, 2016 and many teachers were arrested on trumped up charges of terror and coup. The government also revoked the licenses of 21,000 teachers working in private schools.
Most of these teachers are targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his heavy-handed attempt to root out alleged supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the US-based Turkish Muslim intellectual who has been a vocal critic of Erdogan on corruption and aiding and abetting armed Jihadists in Syria. Gülen, dubbed as one of “The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals” in a list put together by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in 2008, has inspired a civic movement called Hizmet (Service) which focuses on science education, community involvement, interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
Turkish government not only sacked and imprisoned teachers en masse but also closed 15 top-notch universities, 1,285 schools, 800 dormitories and 560 foundations over alleged links to the Gülen movement in the six months alone.
Sacked teachers and their families also live in a fear of sudden arrest, torture or death under suspicious circumstances. For instance, Gökhan Açıkkollu, a history teacher detained as part of operations against the movement, died after he reportedly felt faint in İstanbul’s Ümraniye Prison, on Aug. 5.
There have been dozens of suspicious deaths in detention and prisons in Turkey that were described as suicides. However, families challenged the official narrative, saying that their loved ones are not the kind of people to commit suicide. There are claims that that some of the detainees were killed after being subjected to torture under custody. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have documented cases of torture including rape in detentions.
Feb. 20, 2017