Students, colleagues commemorate teachers killed by PKK
Teachers killed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were commemorated by their students and colleagues in two southeastern provinces to mark National Teacher’s Day on Nov. 24.
Commemorations were held in Şanlıurfa and Batman for Necmettin Yılmaz and Şenay Aybüke Yalçın, while a group of teachers in Istanbul released an album in memory of their colleagues killed by the outlawed group.
Yılmaz served as a teacher in a village in Şanlıurfa’s Siverek district before he was abducted in the eastern province of Tunceli in June.
The 23-year-old teacher was traveling to the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane for a vacation when a group of PKK militants stopped his car, which was later set alight by the outlawed group.
The whereabouts of Yılmaz remained unknown for a while, before it was revealed that he was killed by the PKK.
The young teacher’s death was mourned across Turkey and his name was given to the school he was teaching at in the Çiftçibaşı village.
Ali Canpolat, the teacher appointed to the school after Yılmaz’s death, organized a ceremony to commemorate his slain colleague, where emotional moments took place.
Photos of Yılmaz and his students taken last year were placed on the table he was using and students laid carnations as a show of respect.
“Our teacher Necmettin, we wish you a happy Nov. 24 National Teacher’s Day,” one of the students wrote on the board, while all of his students said they would always remember Yılmaz.
Another ceremony was held in Batman’s Kozluk district for Yalçın, who was also killed by the PKK in June.
Yalçın was killed in the PKK attack on Batman Mayor Veysi Işık’s vehicle on June 9 while she was heading home in another vehicle after attending a ceremony to distribute report cards on the last day of the semester before summer break.
The 22-year-old music teacher’s death also deeply shook Turkey and her name was given to the music classroom she had made for the school.
During the ceremony, her students described their feelings for Yalçın and how much she was missed.
“I love my teacher Aybüke a lot. I can’t find words to describe her. I miss her a lot,” Yasemin Uzdan, one of Yalçın’s students, said, adding she changed her mind about becoming a music teacher after the incident.
“When our teacher Aybüke was here, I wanted to become a music teacher, but now, I don’t even think about it. I changed my mind after what happened to her. She was taking care of us and was so sincere. We won’t forget her,” she also said.
Another student, Helin Sönmezsoy, said they don’t have any negative memories about the slain teacher.
“I remember our teacher Aybüke with her smile. Her laughter still rings in our ears,” Sönmezsoy said, while a third student said Yalçın was more than a teacher.
“We have not and we will not forget our teacher. She was everything to us, a mother, a father and a sister,” Büşra Savur said.
Elsewhere, a group of teachers in Istanbul released an album in memory of their slain colleagues, including Yılmaz and Yalçın, and will donate the income from the album’s sales to PKK victim schools in Turkey’s east and southeast.
Teachers from the Başakşehir Abdi İbrahim Middle School named their album “Üzülme” (Don’t be sad), which features 15 songs sung by 16 teachers.
Folk songs from all over Turkey were included in the album that took two months and 10 days to finalize.