Head of the teachers union, Eğitim-İş, Mehmet Balık announced on Saturday that the number of teachers who have been suspended from their posts since a failed military coup attempt in July has reached 70,000.
In line with a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a failed military coup on July 15, Turkey’s Education Ministry has been suspending thousands of Education Ministry personnel en masse, most of whom are teachers, on the grounds that they had links to the faith-based Gülen movement.
Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, Balık said: “First of all, 15,000 teachers were suspended following the coup attempt on July 15, then licenses of 21,000 private school teachers were revoked. Then 28,163 teachers were suspended under a government decree with the No. 672. This was followed by the suspension of 11,301 teachers on the grounds that they support [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorism. Finally, 2,400 teachers have also been suspended. Taking the 21,000 private school teachers whose licenses were revoked into consideration, the Education Ministry has suspended or dismissed around 70,000 teachers from the profession since July 15.”
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.
Thousands of people who are thought to be linked to the Gülen movement have been purged from state bodies since then.
Hundreds of Gülen-linked schools across the country have been closed down and licenses of teachers working at these schools have been revoked.
Balık also said the suspension of so many teachers has left at least 1,5 million students in the country without a teacher.
In the meantime , Kamuran Karaca, head of Eğitim Sen (Education Personnel Union), speaking at the same news conference, said although the new academic year began four weeks ago, there are still many textbooks which are missing.
Only several days before the start of the new academic year in September, Turkey’s Education Ministry decided to destroy textbooks written by the alleged followers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the Gülen movement.
The textbooks had been prepared before the failed coup attempt. Writers of 58 textbooks that were going to be distributed to schools by the ministry, were among the thousands of people purged from the state bodies.