Turkey: EĞITIM-SEN Symposium “State of Emergency, Decrees, and Struggle for Democracy”


On 26 November 2016, EĞITIM-SEN, ETUCE’s member organisation in Turkey, organised a symposium entitled “State of Emergency, Decrees, and Struggle for Democracy” in Ankara, Turkey. Nearly 150 Egitim-Sen activists, officials, representatives of befriended organisations, non-governmental organisations and opposition parties, representatives of four ETUCE’s member organisations as well as Cees Van Beek, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ankara, participated in the symposium.

Kamuram Karaca, the EĞITIM-SEN President, chaired and opened the symposium. During the morning session, representatives of four Turkish opposition parties, CHP (Republican Peoples Party), HDP (Peoples democratic party), ÖDP (Freedom and Solidarity Party) and EMEP (Labour Party), took the floor and stressed the critical situation in the country, the plight of the Kurdish population in the South East of Turkey, the threat to the Turkish public sector and the Turkish government’s illegitimate actions taken against, in particular, representative of trade unions, non-governmental organisations and opposition activists.

In the afternoon session, representatives of ETUCE’s member organisations, Walter Dresscher, ETUCE Vice-President, Martin Powell-Davies (NUT, UK), Tom Erdmann (GEW, Germany) and Pavlos Antounopoulos (OLME, Greece) expressed their solidarity with Turkish colleagues.

On behalf of ETUCE Walter Dresscher highlighted the key role of education and education personnel in developing democratic societies and condemned the Turkish government’s illicit and arbitrary actions. Stating “A teacher is a role model for a child in preparing for her or his future life; a life that should be determined by respect and values rather than violence and greed; a life in which an individual takes account of opinions and believes in others rather than exorcising them; a life in which different groups learn to live together rather than resort to hatred and violence”, in his speech he expressed ETUCE’s support to the Turkish colleagues in the difficult situation which they find themselves in and encouraged them to continue their fight.

In the framework of the symposium, the importance of EI/ETUCE’s urgent appeal for action launched among all member organisations was strongly underlined. Among other things, the appeal for action asks member organisations to raise awareness of the public about the undemocratic actions of the Turkish authorities and demonstrate financial solidarity with EĞITIM-SEN by making a contribution to the EI Solidarity Fund.

A resolution on the situation in Turkey has been submitted by the ETUCE Committee for discussion and adoption to the ETUCE Conference on 6-8 December 2016 in Belgrade, Serbia which is to be discussed.