Turkey cancels licenses of 20,000 teachers due to alleged Gülen links

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Teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu

Turkey’s Education Ministry has cancelled the teaching licenses of 19,962 teachers and closed down the private schools they used to work for due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to a statement from the ministry.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The ministry’s statement came in response to a parliamentary question directed by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. The question was intended for Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.

The ministry said the licenses of 19,962 teachers were cancelled through government decrees as of Sept.5 and that the licenses of teachers who were acquitted in court were reinstated.

The Turkish government has closed 1,285 schools, 800 dormitories and 560 foundations over alleged links to the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Around 50,000 teachers have been removed from their posts since the coup attempt on similar charges.

One such teacher, Gökhan Açıkkollu, who was tortured to death while in police custody in the wake of the coup attempt over alleged membership in the Gülen movement, was found innocent one-and-a-half years later and “reinstated” to his job last February.

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