A Turkish man has committed suicide in the northern province of Kocaeli due to an inability to buy trousers for his son’s school uniform, according to a report by the Sözcü daily on Friday.
İsmail Devrim’s son was sent back home from his high school because his trousers were not part of his school uniform. “Why am I living if I cannot look after you and the children, cannot afford to buy trousers for my child,” Devrim told his wife.
Devrim later bought the trousers but hanged himself after his family went to sleep. The gendarmes investigating his death found 20 Turkish lira ($3.20) in his pocket.
Devrim used to work as a machinist but was left unemployed after injuring his arm, his wife said. “We were having problems because he was not able to work. We have a mortgage on our house. We were having difficulty paying it,” she added.
When the local press published the story, social media users posted extensively about the issue, eventually pushing officials to make statements, which further exacerbated the tension.
The provincial education directorate announced that the family did not apply to the school administration for financial aid “probably as a matter of honor.”
The governor’s office, meanwhile, connected the incident to the “psychological problems” of the deceased father.
Devrim was reported to have recently suffered a work-related accident and was afraid of failing if he returned to his job, which caused stress over his ability to care for his family financially.
On Sunday a group of 15 people who gathered in Kocaeli to protest the Education Ministry, claiming that “free education is a human right,” were detained by police.
Social media users have recently been complaining about the increasing costs of education in Turkey. Even though in theory public schools are free, in practice school administrations demand financial support from students’ families in a semi-obligatory way, they say.