The further discussion about the critical state of affairs in Turkey and the education community’s solidarity actions will be among the most anticipated issues that will be addressed by The ETUCE Regional Conference on 6-8 December in Belgrade, Serbia.

For months the international society, including the education community, has been learning in shock about the arbitrary measures of the Turkish authorities, inter alia, against education personnel in Turkey. Large-scale and undemocratic actions undertaken by the Turkish authorities undermine not only the well-functioning of academic freedom but jeopardise the quality education for all in Turkey as a whole. Continuous dismissals, license withdrawals, investigations and arrests force education staff members to leave their professions and create an unsafe and unhealthy environment in which education personnel is not only subjected to immense psychological stress, but foremost to violation of fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of expression and speech, the loss of academic freedom and the disrespect for human and trade union rights. As a result of the Turkish government’s actions, education personnel and students find themselves in a divided society where fear and slanders triumph over respect and peaceful coexistence of different opinions.

Furthermore, the Turkish government’s threats to end the EU-Turkey Refugee Deal after the European Parliament voted to freeze talks on Turkey’s accession to the European Union, clearly show how little the Turkish government cares about the international community and universal values.

EGITIM-SEN, ETUCE’s member organisation in Turkey, continues to defend human and trade union rights and to support affected education personnel despite prosecutions, threats and pressure placed on it. EI/ETUCE member organisations continuously demonstrate solidarity and show support for their sister organisation and its affiliates in Turkey.

In light of the forthcoming ETUCE Regional Conference, ETUCE member organisations will have opportunity to further discuss the potential joint actions to continue support and encourage Turkish colleagues in their struggle to put an end to the Turkish authorities’ illicit actions and respect of their rights. The participants will also take advantage of the ETUCE Conference to share among their colleagues actions undertaken in support of EGITIM-SEN and its affiliates at national levels.