The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is inviting its member organizations and their members to join in a call for democracy and justice in Turkey.
In July the CTF sent a letter to the ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Canada. At issue was the suspension of 15,200 teachers, the licence revocation of 21,000 private school teachers and the forced resignation of 1,500 university deans throughout Turkey, which the CTF cited as being in violation of several international conventions and recommendations pertaining to the education sector.
"The silencing and punishment of educators without due process or cause defies democracy and human rights," wrote CTF president Heather Smith.
The education "purge" was viewed as one of a string of government actions aimed at muzzling its critics since a failed coup attempt occurred on July 15. The incident brought about chaos and resulted in thousands of arrests and more than 200 deaths.
The CTF’s protest followed a move by Education International (of which CTF is a member), which made an urgent request to the government of Turkey to reverse its decisions and respect the international standards protecting the trade union rights and academic freedoms of all educators and education support staff.
"The news that Turkey is now punishing educators in response to the attempted coup is not only shocking for our profession, but clearly shows that the current political climate is being used to justify the silencing of anyone who may not agree with the government," said Education International general secretary Fred van Leeuwen.
"Education International will not stand silent as our profession is targeted in what amounts to a witch hunt," said van Leeuwen. "Although our organization firmly rejects the attempted coup, we demand that the government of Turkey shows that democracy is the only answer to the unlawful actions of the military rather than justify what amounts to an abolishment of citizens’ rights." ❚