Unemployed Turkish teacher commits suicide

A 25-year-old teacher in the Aegean province of Aydın’s İncirliova district has committed suicide after being unemployed for the last four years, Doğan News Agency reported on April 16.

Merve Çavdar graduated from university in 2014 with a degree in teaching social sciences and had been waiting for an appointment since then. She was reportedly in depression because she could not pass the national public personnel selection exam (KPSS), which graduates of the education faculties need to pass to be assigned to public schools across Turkey.

But only a small percent of education faculty graduates are able to pass the national KPSS exam, which is held once every year. The exam is known to have caused depression among aspirants and a number of aspiring teachers were reported to have committed suicide because of this in recent years.

Çavdar, similarly, was reported to be in depression, and was later put on medication. She was last seen by her parents on April 16 at her house. She had reportedly told them she was “going out to look for a job.”

Locals found her lifeless body on a shore near the Güzelçamlı town before notifying gendarmerie and health teams. The teams determined the woman had overdosed on antidepressant pills.

Turkish government has not assigned many people, including at least 1,100 newly graduated medical doctors, due to the security/intelligence investigations after they graduated from the universities, under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The executive decree No. 676 (October 29, 2016) was supplemented with the Law No. 657 on the State Officer and it enabled the condition of “security investigation and archive search were made” for the civil servants. The decree has also affected newly graduated medical doctors and nearly 1,100 physicians who graduated in June and July of 2017 have still been waiting for the security investigation to be completed and it prevents them from working as public employees.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in jails and detention centers, where torture and ill-treatment are being practiced. In the majority of cases, authorities concluded they were suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 111 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

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