Press Release by Together Platform on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, October 5th.
Today is 5th of October – World Teacher’s Day
World Teachers’ Day held annually on 5 October since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.
On the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, we, as Together Platform, would like to congratulate all teachers of the world for practicing invaluable job for our future and this year in particular working hard at the time of Covide-19 pandemic to ensure that no student would be left behind the right of education.
By this opportunity We, as well, would like to raise awareness toward the violations of human rights by Turkish Government against teachers over the past years.
4 years before in Turkey, more than 140.000 public servants are dismissed from public duties with the decree laws during state of emergency. Here, We would like to summarize the unlawful practices that public servants and teachers in particular dismissed from their duties by the decree-laws are exposed to.
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 due to being members of unions and depositing money to Bank Asya.
The Right to Unionize is Violated
Aktif Eğitim-Sen, one of the leading 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.
The “Presumption of Innocence” is Violated
The accused people must be granted the right to defend themselves. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the rightto be presumed innocent until proven 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)
Declaring the names of the people in official gazette in lists without any investigations or prosecution clearly violated the presumption of innocence.
The Dismissed Teachers were Exposed to Hate Speech by State Authorities
The government describes the groups, organizations and unions where it deems them 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.
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 Commission of State of Emergency 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”
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.
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, but their spouses and children are also included.
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.
On this occasion, we, as Together Platform, would like to reiterate that all teachers of the world should be treated fairly and respectfully in terms of their rights and responsibilities and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.
On behalf of the Together Platform
Chairman of Together Platform