Turkey: Education workers fight for their fundamental rights and freedoms


On the 8th of September 2022, the Education and Science Workers’ Union of Turkey’s (EGITIM-SEN) executives and branch heads were forcibly withheld from conveying their reactions and demands to Turkey's 2022 Teaching Profession Law to the state's Ministry of Education.

During the day of planned action, members of the union found themselves virtually besieged by a police blockade and were unable to leave their headquarters to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms.

In response to these transgressions, EGITIM-SEN has accused the Ministry of Interior, Ankara Governor's Office, and Law Enforcement of committing crimes by acting in clear violation of international conventions, constitutions, and domestic law norms. The union has highlighted that these are not the first nor the last unlawful acts of an ultimately totalitarian administration, underscoring that this same autocratic mentality is apparent in the Teaching Profession Law.

The Teaching Profession Law was enacted by the Turkish government in 2022. It came into force despite heavy criticism from education professionals who stressed that it was prepared without considering the rights and demands of teachers.

EGITIM-SEN have emphasised that the 2022 Teaching Profession Law entails many problematic provisions that have resulted in, amongst other things, the stratification of teachers working in the same school due to the creation of arbitrary classifications of different teaching careers. The union has stressed that any comprehensive Teaching Profession Law should be in line with the ILO and UNESCO's 1966 "Recommendations on the Status of Teachers" and as a result should secure the demands, job security and rights of all educational professionals.

For these reasons, EGITIM-SEN has immediately demanded for:

  • A humane, liveable salary arrangement that lifts all education and science workers above the poverty line without discrimination;
  • The provisions on the exam and career steps of education workers within the 2022 Teaching Profession law be cancelled;
  • The introduction of a real professional law that is prepared in a democratic and participatory manner in line with their requests, criticisms, and suggestions.

ETUCE stands in solidary with our member organisation who is engaged in a struggle to exercise their democratic rights and freedoms and joins their fight for a society in which teachers and other education personnel can flourish.

“While calling on the Turkish authorities to respect, among other things, the core principles of social dialogue and discuss the 2022 Teaching Profession Law together with our affiliated member organisation, we support the upcoming educators’ rally on 5 Ocotber 2022 in Ankara” concluded, Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director.