A university academic and a primary school teacher who were removed from their posts by government decrees in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 on Monday entered the 62nd day of a hunger strike they started to be able to return to their jobs.
The hunger strike, begun by academic Nuriye Gülmen and primary school teacher Semih Özakça, has reached a critical threshold, with many of their colleagues in Turkey and abroad calling on Turkish authorities to allow the educators to return to work.
In addition, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy group chairperson Filiz Kerestecioğlu recently wrote a letter to Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Thorbjørn andCouncil of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks telling them that the state of health of Gülmen and Özakça is deteriorating, hence they should contact Turkish authorities so that they can take action to end the hunger strike of the educators.
In her letter, Kerestecioğlu said the number of academics expelled from Turkish universities in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt is 4,811.
Gülmen came to public attention with her protests of the government and its decision to purge her and thousands of others from state institutions. She was detained by the police many times.
Due to her adamant resistance, Gülmen was listed as one of the eight leading women of Turkey in 2016 by CNN.