Aziz Özen – ISTANBUL
Turkey’s Union of Education Workers (Eğitim-Sen) and Alevi
Bektaşi Federation, a leading umbrella organization of the Alevi
community, held a rally in Istanbul’s Kartal district on Sept. 17, demanding a “secular, scientific and public education free-of-charge in the mother tongue.”
Thousands of people, including some lawmakers from the opposition parties the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), participated in the rally.
Many participants were heard shouting slogans such as, “No to racist, reactionary education,” “Say stop to the curriculum,” while some held banners that read, “Say no to the denial and assimilation of Alevism, get organized.”
Heavy security measures were taken at the rally area in Kartal square, including snipers located at points near the place.
Eğitim-Sen head Feray Aytekin Aydoğan held a speech during the event. “A system is being imposed on our children that says ‘education for as much as your money,’ or ‘education if you have money.’ We have struggled to give our kids an honored future and will continue to do so,” Aydoğan said.
Alevi Bektaşi Federation head Muhittin Yıldız also took the stage. “Public schools should be houses of wisdom that are equal and open to all beliefs, languages, colors and societies,” Yıldız said.