Since the peace and negotiation process with the Kurds was put to an end by the Turkish Government, we have been going through a period in which law and democracy are put aside and undemocratic actions have achieved a peak. Hundreds of thousands of people have become refugees in their homeland due to ongoing armed conflicts and curfews in the region. Raising their voices and opposing the violations of civil rights and destructions in cities, labourers and teachers have become a target for the government and various fascist groups.

After the armed conflict got intensified in city centers, labor organizations such as KESK, DISK, TMMOB, TTB wanted to hold a demonstration in Ankara to call for peace. However, ISIS, backed by warmongering barons who don’t favor peace and prosperity in society, carried out suicide bombs and murdered more than a hundred laborers and civil demonstrators before the rally began. After the Ankara Massacre, a new concept of attack and opposition has been put into practice against labourers. And opposing sections in society face vicious actions and unimaginably high numbers of violations of human rights.

We think that this suppression against members of Egitim-Sen and labourers in

general is closely related to the unsolved Kurdish question. If the peace and

negotiation process had been successful, teachers and labourers probably would

have been heroes of this process. Because members of KESK (Confederation of

Unions of Public Labourers), have stood against curfews and took to the streets

rallying even during armed conflict, risking their lives. Our antiwar attitude was

confronted by government and police’s harsh oppression and they related our

organization to illegal organizations and they have launched numerous investigations

against us. A lot of investigations have been launched against many teachers.

Various kinds of oppression have been carried out by government against civil

organizations and unions, trying to force them into picking sides. Their main aim is

trying to establish a militarized atmosphere, spread fear and hence make members

resign from unions and impose a disgraceful life upon them. We summarized the

violations of rights of teachers and unions who have been trying to create a public



We want to list attacks and suppressions against public labourers in Diyarbakir as of

December, 2015.


  1. Administrative investigations were opened against a lot of our members for the

reason that a declaration from our central union was read at schools on the

third class of school day about violations of educational rights in curfew

issued districts.


  1. Administrative investigations were launched against 4913 members of our

union for the reason that they attended a one day strike – whose motto was

‘we advocate life but not death, and we advocate peace but not war- in

December 29, 2015. During the investigation process, teachers got threatened

and oppressed by inspectors, provincial directorate of national education and

Ministry for National Education to make teachers resign from the union.


  1. During the December 29 strike, we carried out a rally for a nonviolent and

peaceful world with non-governmental organizations in our city, and criminal

investigations were opened against 56 members of KESK.


  1. In February 2016, investigations were opened against 15 teachers who

attended a 18 day-long demonstration, ‘on watch for peace’, carried out by

our union in front of Guesthouse.


  1. Government issued a circle, 2016/4, which considers public labourers freedom

of communication and expression as criminal actions. Making public

demonstrations are banned and therefore public labourer try to express their

opinions via social media, yet a witch hunt has begun against them:

23 teachers got suspended in Bismil district. Criminal and administrative

investigations were opened against 12 teachers from Silvan, 7 from Dicle and

8 from central districts. Teachers received 1 to 3 years suspension of ranks,

and 10 of our members got expelled against their will.


  1. Based on the article in UNESCO regılations that was added in 1999, February

21 is celebrated as International Mother Language Day. To celebrate this day,

our union Egitim-Sen, has been holding demonstration. We fill one hour of

curriculum in our own mother language (Kurds fill it in Kurdish, Lazes fill it in

Laz. Investigations were launched by inspectors of Diyarbakir provincial

directorate of national education. As a result of the investigation 360 teachers

received wage deduction. The aim of this deduction is not to punish teachers

economically, but to threaten and oppress them so they can’t attend future

strikes and protests.


  1. Again in May 15, Kurdish language day, teachers filled the curriculum in

Kurmanci and Zazaki dialects of the Kurdish language and again

investigations were launched against them. They received various






There happened a military coup attempt in July 15 as a result of escalation of tension

between the government and its rival in power. The government overcame this

attempt with the help of people but then it has put “a civil coup” into practice. In a

time when executive, legislative and judicial powers are intertwined, there have been

operations against Gulen community (which was supposed to be the perpetrator of

coup attempt and also has been in bed with the government for 14 years) in public

works. These operations were legitimized by decrees. As of 18.10.2016, one hundred

three thousand (103.000) people have been sacked and suspended. This figure is

increasing every day.


The government had failed in trying to decrease number of Egitim-Sen members for

a year, and then, by taking advantage of the failed coup attempt, they are now

attacking teachers of Egitim-Sen and labourers of KESK. 11.301 teachers got

suspended by administrative arbitrary decisions. Of them, 9843 are members of

Egitim-Sen. Besides, 90% of teachers are of Kurdish origin, and almost all of them

live in the region. And 4313 of them work in Diyarbakir.

Turkey was exported across 1400 public worker.Diyarbakır was expelled 80 88

health teacher assistant



We think that these suspensions and sacks are ethnic and racist, and their aim is to

weaken Egitim-Sen. And we see that the people in this region also agree with us. We

even suspect that today’s process resembles that of 1925 -Reform Project in Eastern

Part of the country- (thousands of people were forced to leave their homeland and go

to Turkish populated cities in the western part of the country). Our family and friends

express their concerns about this. And the government bases the accusations on

relating us to illegal organizations, which is a dangerous approach.


Names of suspended teachers were made public in pro government unions’

websites, which is even more dangerous. After the publication of the names, lots of

fascist groups started racist and fascist campaigns on twitter and other social media

websites, stating that the suspended teachers are members of illegal organizations

and they openly threatened our members. This fascist threats created a counteract in

our region and we have even heard people saying “ok, then we will not let Turkish

teachers work here”. The government policies created a dangerous atmosphere

where Turkish teachers are afraid to work in this region and Kurdish teachers are

afraid to work outside of the region. The government will be held solely responsible

for any problems that the teachers may have.



Another dangerous act is the profile of hired teachers to fill vacancies. For years

Egitim-Sen has been revealing the assimilationist acts of Kemalist-Nationalist and

Religious-Conservative teachers on Kurdish children. Education in mother language

was put in Egitim-Sen regulations in 2004, and because of that article, Egitim-Sen

has paid the price many times. Many of its members were murdered in 1990s, still

unsolved cases.


We warned before that hired pro government teachers would be Islamists and racist.

And unfortunately, we were right.


At Mesut Yılmaz primary school in Diyarbakir, a hired teacher wanted to change the

name of a student, named BIRYAR (means “determined” in Kurdish) to Ramazan (it

means “ramadan” a month in which muslims fast). The teacher wrote the name

“ramazan” on the boy’s hand and told the class to call him “Ramazan” instead of

“Biryar” from now on. After the student’s family intervention, the teacher stepped back

and told the family not to politicize the matter. “Name issue” hasn’t been a problem

for a long time but after the suspension of Egitim-Sen members, the problem seems

to have risen again, which isn’t a coincidence.



Among the suspended teachers, there are people who have devoted their lives to

human rights as well as teachers who are also award-winning writers (at least 4 of

them write in Kurdish) and film makers. There are 10 suspended teachers of same

family. There are suspended husbands and wives, fathers and daughters&sons, and

teachers and their former students.



Considering the conditions of the region, it is important to see that it is not very easy

to be a teacher and despite of the poor conditions, the teens are eager to study and

work in their neighborhood. The teachers from poor and crowded families have

mainly preferred to study and work in neighboring cities. Among these suspended

teachers there are some who had been taken out their villages by force in 90s. The

unemployment rate is nearly 70% in some cities of the region. For these reasons, it is

essential for the local people to educate their children and send them to the

universities. The profession of teaching is preferable among the teens to be able to

stop the assimilation and as there is a higher possibility to be appointed. Because of

their identities and their political actions many Kurdish teens either leave or are

expelled from the university. Detentions and arrests have been common procedures

for Kurdish teens who insist on their identities.



It is clear that the members of Egitim-Sen have a deep effect on the local people.

Their efforts to set democratic, secular and intellectual standards cannot be

underestimated. We think that the attitude of female members towards the violence

against the women, studies on child brides and exposing child abuse at schools

disturbed the government. To us, the efforts of our members to stop the attempts of

designing an illiterate and more religious society disturbed the government. The main

reason why the government wants to suppress us is our demand for a free and

mother tongue based educational system.




While education totally stopped in districts such as; Sur,Cizre, Silopi which were

under curfew and witnessed severe conflict, educators in some other risky areas

continued to work at their schools to normalize the living conditions of heavily

affected children by risking their own lives. Every activity performed by Egitim-sen

was criminalized by the Government during this period and members of Egitim-Sen

were pointed as targets.


In many cities of this region, notably in Diyarbakır, many schools, dormitories and

community clinics were turned into police stations. In Diyarbakır some schools such

as; Hüseyin Uluğ, Seyrantepe, Atatürk, Yüzüncü Yıl, Çelebi Eser, Kayapınar, Hülya

Tugay, Vehbi Koç are used as police stations at nights while serving as schools in

daytime. The schoolyards are surrounded by concrete barriers and turned into mobile

police stations. On the third of March, 2016 two six-year-old students, Furkan ÖNER

and Ayaz ÖZDEMİR lost their lives after being trapped under these concrete barriers.



The way how the name lists of suspended teachers were made is an administrative

and judicial scandal. As we mentioned before, the name lists of our members, who

participated in demonstrations of our union and union-related activities, were made

beforehand. The name lists of our members, who had nothing to do with the coup

attempt, were made beforehand by the followers of Fethullah Gülen, who is blamed

for the coup attempt. Many of these bureaucrats are still on trial. Some of them are

suspended or sacked. Many education inspectors, including Vice Governor in charge

of National Education who made name lists and instituted inquiries, are now prisoned

for being followers of Gülen movement. Besides, Chairman Inspectorate of National

Education of Diyarbakir, who had many contributions to these lists, is suspended for

the same reason. The Government insistently uses these name lists as base which

means a serious violations of rights. When it comes to Kurdish teachers or members

of Egitim-Sen, the government doesn’t hesitate to act together with Gülen movement

which is blamed for the coup attempt.




On September 9, after we were informed officially that we had been suspended, we

tried to make a statement to the press. After the attack of the police, 47 of our

members, who were mainly women, were detained.

27 students were detained at Dağkapı Square as they wanted to support their

teachers. Most of these students were under the age of 18.

Parents of our students who filed the petition ‘I want my teacher back.’ were

detained. Also some parents were reported and threatened by the school

managements which mainly consist of members of Pro-AKP union, Egitim-Bir-Sen.

All around Turkey, being able to take part in school managements requires being a

member of Egitim-Bir-sen. We know that some name lists of suspended teachers are

made at union branches of Egitim-Bir-Sen.


As it is forbidden to perform any activity outside, we arranged a sit-down in our union

building to take attention on the suspended teachers for 18 days. During this time the

building was surrounded by panzers and the police took pictures of everybody who

entered the building.


We organized bicycle tours that were again accompanied with panzers. The police

filmed and took pictures of those who supported us or even just applauded us on


On the first day of the schools, our members conducted a series of activities to

arouse a public awareness. Most of the students and their parents supported these

activities. The police attacked some activities and some of our members were

detained in front of their students.

On September 19, 11 teachers were detained for wearing T-shirts with the text ‘Leave

Our Teachers Alone’ at schools in Silvan.

On September 20, 20 teachers were detained and fined for wearing these T-shirts on


2 teachers were detained for wearing these T-shirts at schools in Ergani. On the

same day, some students and their parents were also detained.

The teachers wearing these T-shirts at schools were exposed to the repression of the

police in Lice.


The police harshly attacked our ‘Human Chain’ activity which was a democratic

reaction and detained our 17 members, most of whom were women.



In order to prevent union-related activities and weaken the resistance, heavily armed

police raided the houses of many union members. These members were exposed to

psychological torture. 70 members of our union were detained during these house


A teacher, mother of an eight-week-old baby, was detained. Another teacher, whose

husband also was detained in a previous operation and the mother of a four-monthold baby, was taken in custody for five days.

There are detained teachers of same family. There are detained sisters who have two

and four-year-old children.

Because of this lawlessness, two children aged 6 and 8, had to stay at home without

their parents for 5 days.

Under emergency rule, the detained teachers are denied access to their families or

lawyers for five days.

14 teachers charged with union-related activities such as; demand on education in

mother tongue, call for a peaceful environment or better employee rights, are still in





To arouse public awareness, we made T-shirts, leaflets, posters with the text: ‘Leave

Our Teachers Alone’. But the authorities forbade them all. All the posters that we

hung on billboards were confiscated. But as a reaction we again hung posters on

billboards saying: ‘ Leave Egitim-Sen Alone’. But ‘Leave Egitim-Sen Alone’ was also

forbidden in Diyarbakir. After all, the Governor forbade our all union-related activities.

In Siverek, a teacher was detained after being charged with having a sticker saying

‘Leave Our Teachers Alone’ on her car. Because it is forbidden in Diyarbakır.

Despite everything, as Egitim-Sen we will continue struggling for peace and

democracy. We have stood up for life against death, for peace against war. We will

continue struggling for scientific, free, democratic, secular and mother tongue based

education. We call for the government to respect the human rights, to remove

obstacles on union-related activities, to stop detentions and suspension. We call for

the national and international public and non-governmental organizations to be

sensitive and aware of this subject. We call for everybody to say ‘NO’ to this

lawlessness to create a free and equal world.

Diyarbakır Eğitim- Sen Branches 1, 2 and 3