Schools reopen with boycotts in southeastern Turkey
Many classrooms in schools of the southeastern province of Van were partially empty on the first day of the new academic year in Turkey. A small group of students who attended the classes were wearing casual attire instead of the required school uniforms, across several schools in the city. DHA photoAbout 17 million students and 800,000 teachers commenced the academic term for secondary schools on Sept. 16, with classes remaining empty in several cities due to a boycott calling for the right to education in the Kurdish language.
Families did not send their children to school in several southeastern provinces, particularly in Hakkari, Van and in some districts of Diyarbakır, following a call for the boycott of secondary schools in the area over “the right to receive education in [one’s] mother tongue,” during the new academic term’s first week.
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) called for the boycott of schools for the first week of the educational year in order to draw attention to “the right to education in [one’s] mother tongue.”
Many schools in Van were therefore partially empty on the first day of academic year, while a small group of students who attended the classes wore casual attire instead of the required school uniforms in several schools in the city of Van.
A majority of the 408 schools in the southeastern province of Hakkari were also empty or partially empty yesterday. Hakkari Governor Necmettin Kalkan confirmed the extent of boycott in the city and condemned the action as “preventing children’s [right to] education.”
Gov. Kalkan said the low attendance not only due to the boycott, but also given that it was the first day of the academic year, traditionally attributed with high student absenteeism.
Gov brushes off boycott
“There are 200 children and their families present here at the ceremony today. I thank each of them and condemn attempts to deprive these children from receiving an education, despite efforts to remove any obstacles in a child’s right to education,” said Kalkan at a school.
The boycott was widespread in Diyarbakır’s central Bağlar and Sur districts, while it was not very effective in the Yenişehir and Kayapınar districts.
Kalkan gave boots as presents to children who attended classes on the first day of the school.
Diyarbakır Governor Mustafa Cahit Kıraç said “there is no problem in the city” relating to the boycott.
“Around 450,000 students and more than 16,000 teachers started the new academic year in
Diyarbakır. The day continued as per normal, there was no issue,” said Kıraç.
DTK head Ahmet Türk had said they had issued a statement to all party organizations calling for a week-long education boycott in Southeastern Anatolia, in reaction to the government’s rejection of the right to education in one’s mother tongue.