5 OCTOBER WORLD TEACHERS DAY PRESS RELEASE
You are a teacher with 20 years of experience. It's past August and there are a few days left for the schools to open. You missed your students. You are already dreaming about rejoining with them. One day, when you woke up, you learn that a decree-law has been passed in the official gazette and both you and your spouse were dismissed from duty.
You are declared “terrorists” on the official gazette by the Government. No one answers your phone out of fear, no one says hi after they learn about your dismissal. There is no other profession that you can do. You don't know how you would make a living. In addition, you have to move out from the public housing you live in 15 days.
This is what happened by the decree-laws after the coup attempt on 15th of July. Approximately 100.000 public servants and 34.000 teachers felt and still feeling the despair. Their personal benefits were ignored, they were deprived of their health benefits, they were branded as criminals by being exposed on the official gazette, they were unable to work in other professions after the propaganda against them. These people who are deprived of their right to live and work are left to misery and hunger.
Today is 5th of October – World Teacher's Day
4 years before, more than 140.000 public servants are dismissed from public duties with the decree laws declared during state of emergency. Hereby, I would like to summarize once more the unlawful practices that all the teachers and public servants that are affected by the decree-laws are exposed.
34.000 Teachers were dismissed from duty with decree-laws unlawfully
Despite the clear provisions in the articles 128/2, 129/2-3 and 15 of the Constitution, the Republic of Turkey violated international obligations and dismissed the teachers without any investigation, their thoughts are considered illegal, some of them were exposed to torture to reveal their thoughts and charged for them, the crimes and punishment were applied to past, being members of unions and depositing money to Bank Asya were considered as crimes and 34.000 teachers were dismissed from duty without any court decisions.
The people who were dismissed with decree-laws cannot apply to any legal authorities
While a victimized person has the right to appeal to the courts in accordance with international regulations and Turkish Law, it is not possible for the teachers in Turkey who were dismissed from their duties to appeal to any courts or legal authorities. There are hundreds of court decisions implying that the decree-laws are out of adjudication audits. The Republic of Turkey preferred this method to prevent the dismissed teachers from appealing to courts and returning back to their duties.
The Commission of State of Emergency which was established due to international pressure does not change this fact. This situation is thoroughly described in the report prepared by Amnesty International called “Purged Beyond Return? No Remedy for Turkey's Dismissed Public Sector Workers”
The Dismissed Teachers were Exposed to Hate Speech by State Authorities
The government describes the groups, organizations and unions that it considered as opponents as terrorists and exposes them to treatments that cannot be accepted in a lawful state. Therefore, the dismissed teachers are considered as criminals due to the hate speech and alienation that they were exposed to.
This situation causes the teachers to be verbally and actually attacked. Dismissing a teacher this way by declaring him criminal and exposing him to a social lynch means that his “right to live” is violated.
The “Presumption of Innocence” is Violated
The universal principle of “Presumption of Innocence” is violated. Declaring the names of the people in official gazette in lists without any investigations or prosecution clearly violated the presumption of innocence.
Each person has the right to live with dignity. The arbitrary procedures of the state authorities cannot deprive people from that.
The Right to Defense of the Dismissed were Violated
The accused people must be granted the right to defend themselves. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right o be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (Universal Declaration of Human Right art. 11)
Not granting the right to defense also violates the provision of the ILO convention art. 7 that indicates that a worker cannot be dismissed without granting the right to defend himself against accusations.
None of the Indicated Reasons for Dismissal are Lawful
The dismissals after 15th of July are also violating the ILO Convention no. 158. None of the indicated reasons for dismissals of the Government are based on “the capacity of the employee” or “the conduct of the profession” or “the needs of the workplace”. Therefore, those dismissals are violations to the Convention of ILO.
Moreover, the arguments used against 34.000 teachers as justification are not lawful. The accusations against the teachers are not among the ones that are considered criminal.
The Teachers Were Not Only Dismissed but also Lost All of their Personal Rights
The dismissed teachers are also deprived of many personal rights. Their pension liabilities are ignored, the requests for retirement are ignored, their funds are seized and they could not use the health services.
Their Passports Were Cancelled and New Ones Are not Given
This way, the right to travel, which is guaranteed by many international conventions and the Constitution is limited. The passport cancellations were not exclusive only to the dismissed teachers, their spouses and children are also included. The declarations made by government officials claiming that the unlawful practices about passports will be examined and ended was not reflected in the application.
The Right to Unionize is Violated
Aktif Eğitim-Sen, one of the biggest teacher unions in Turkey had approximately 18.000 members when it was shut down. People were dismissed from their duties and victimized only because they were members of this union.
The member teachers whose fees were paid by the state even after 15th of July were dismissed from their duties because of their membership. With these decisions, the right to organize and unionize which are accepted in the ECHR and International Law are violated.
Many Teachers Were Subject to Unlawful Arrests
Being an administrator in the unions which were established and ran legally was considered a crime itself after 15th of July and all the administrators in the past were started to be prosecuted.
The Dismissed Teachers Cannot Work Anywhere
The State is holding grudges and using mafiatic methods, putting the Law aside. In case if the people who were dismissed from their duties by decree-laws find jobs, their employers are threatened and harassed by inspectors and they fire them eventually.
The Government Intervenes in the Court Cases
The Government made many legal changes to prevent the fair trial and made their partisans members of HSYK (the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors) by intervening the elections of HSYK. These new members are intervening in the cases on behalf of the government instead of protecting the independence of prosecutors and judges. Also, the authorized persons from MIT (National Intelligence Organization) and Department of Security visited the courts and threatened the judges to decide against the people who are dismissed from their duties by decree-laws.
In such an atmosphere full of threats, intervention and fear, it is not possible to have a just decision and a lawful procedure. Even the cases of spouses of the dismissed for their passposrts are rejected due to intervention. Reinstatement claims, retirement cases etc. are all impossible to win in this case.
The Political Rights of the Dismissed Teachers (The Right to be Elected) are Violated
The Supreme Election Board decided not to grant the dismissed-by-decree-laws candidates their certificates of election during the elections on 31st of March.
For example, Zeyyat Ceylan from HDP (People's Democratic Party) is one of the candidates who was dismissed from his public duty who ran for the co-mayorship of Bağlar. The Board gave him permission to enter the elections on 31st March and he got 116.000 votes and elected for the mayorship of Diyarbakır/Bağlar. However, 9 days after the election, his mayorship was considered invalid by a decision of the Board and the second-in-line candidate from the AKP (Justice and Development Party) was handed the duty.
Government Officials are Provoking the Public and State Organs with Hate Speech
The state authorities and government media, notably the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Internal Affairs Süleyman Soylu constantly targets the dismissed teachers with their hate speech and justifies all the cruel practices against those people.
In conclusion, in addition to being deprived of their rights in Turkey, the dismissed teachers' all rights coming from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Europen Convention of Human Rights, the Constitution of Turkey, Universal Principles of Law and ILO Conventions and they are being dismissed from their duties, arrested, prevented from working at any other places and all the mistreatment against them are being seen as justified just because they were members of a union and related to a social group.
It is not certain how this unlafwulness that they were subject to will be repaired and how they will obtain their rights. The silence of the representatives of International Law (notably the ECHR) increases the victimhood of those people and turns them into a social travma.
On the occasion of World Teachers Day on 5th of October, we, a group of educators who could leave the country, request from you to take an urgent initiative by the force of international law and not stay silent to a social genocide that is commited in front of the eyes of the world.
On behalf of the Victim Educators Platform