Unions representing half a million Canadian educators are urging the President of the Republic of Turkey to cease the systemic persecution of education and public sector workers since the failed coup this summer.
“As we stand in solidarity with our Turkish colleagues, we urge the President of the Republic of Turkey to reverse course and rescind the unlawful measures taken against the education community”, says Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) President Heather Smith.
According to media reports, 20,000 educators have been suspended and 30,000 have been fired by the Erdogan government since the failed coup in July. This figure includes 1,500 university deans who have reportedly been forced to resign and the layoff of 12,000 unionized high school teachers –a majority of which are Kurdish.
“Academics who have been suspended or were forced to resign should be immediately reinstated,” said Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Executive Director David Robinson. “While we fully appreciate that Turkish authorities need to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible of criminal acts, this must be done in a way that abides by the rule of law and respects human rights and civil liberties.”
The CTF and CAUT representatives hand delivered to the Turkish embassy in Ottawa a letter addressed to Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The letter was signed by the six Canadian unions affiliated with Education International:
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Teachers’ Federation
Centrale des syndicats du Québec
Fédération nationale des enseignantes et enseignants du Québec
Fédération du personnel professionnel des universités et de la recherche
Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université
The letter urges the Turkish government to respect the international conventions that the country has ratified and to reinstate the educators and public sector workers who were dismissed since the failed coup on July 15.