Schoolyard blast wounds five students in southeast Turkey

Schoolyard blast wounds five students in southeast Turkey

Schoolyard blast wounds five students in southeast Turkey

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Militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have detonated an improvised explosive device near a schoolyard in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, wounding five students.

The blast took place at 8:24 a.m. on Jan. 22 at the Nuriye Eser Primary School in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district during the distribution of report cards on the last school day of the first semester, Doğan News Agency reported.

Education Minister Nabi Avcı expressed solidarity with the families of the children wounded in the attack.

“I’m in solidarity with the families of the wounded children in Diyarbakır,” the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Avcı as saying during a grade report ceremony at a primary school in Istanbul early Jan. 22. Daily Hürriyet reported that Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also condemned the attack, describing the blast as “a true atrocity.”

Commenting on students living in southeastern towns under curfew who were unable to attend school because of clashes, Avcı said students of Cizre and Silopi would attend make-up classes in schools with guest houses and dormitories during a 15-day make-up program.

“Students in towns such as Cizre and Silopi will attend make-up classes in schools that have guest houses or dormitories. This program will continue for around 15 days,” said Avcı.

Answering a question on the students living in the southeastern towns having curfew in place for more than a month, Avcı said an amendment would be made by the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM), an autonomous body dealing with drafting college-aged students into universities, for the students who were not able to file applications to take the first of two exams Turkish students must take in April this year before enrolling in college. The first university entrance exam is publicly known as the Transition to Higher Education Examination (YGS). 

“The ÖSYM board is meeting today [on Jan. 22] to make a specific regulation for the students and candidates readying for the university entrance exam living in towns having curfews in place,” Avcı said.

Applications for the YGS ended on Jan. 20, but applications could not be filed in towns where curfews are in place.

The Anadolu Agency said on Jan. 21 that more than 81,000 students in three southeastern Turkish towns would not be able get their half-term grade reports on Jan. 22, as education has been suspended in the towns since Dec. 14, 2015. 

Some 39,000 students from 68 schools in the Silopi district of the southeastern Şırnak province will not get their grades, as their schools have been closed for over one month due to the curfew imposed by authorities amid clashes between the security forces and PKK militants. In the Cizre district of Şırnak, 41,127 students in 104 schools will be affected, while more than 1,000 students in seven schools in the Sur district of the Diyarbakır province are also affected.