Turkey's main opposition inquires into alleged witch hunt in schools
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has requested details concerning an alleged witch hunt being carried out by the Education Ministry against secondary school students and teachers who attended protests during the Gezi Park unrest. Hürriyet photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has requested details concerning an alleged witch hunt being carried out by the Education Ministry against secondary school students and teachers who attended protests during the Gezi Park unrest.
CHP’s deputy parliamentary group chair Engin Altay submitted a written motion yesterday, with questions directed at Education Minister Nabi Avcı, demanding how many students and teachers were made to give statements and for how many of them an administrative inquiry had been initiated as a result of the Gezi protests.
“It is reflected to the public that almost a witch hunt has been launched against the students, teachers and other public servants who attended these protests,” Altay said.
According to a news report published on daily Cumhuriyet on Aug. 19, some secondary school principals in Ankara called in their students one by one despite the summer recess, and asked them to write down the names of the “teachers that sent them to protests” and their “friends that went to protests” held in early June, when protests peaked.
Principals have also assured the students that their identities would not be revealed by saying “Your teachers and friends will not know who wrote the names, feel free,” Cumhuriyet said.
This led many, including the CHP, to see it as an attempt to pressure students by giving guarantees similar to that of “secret witnesses.”
“Which teachers wanted you not to go to school on June 6-7?”, “Write down the names of the teachers that wanted you to go to protests”, “Did you have any friends or fellow students who attended the protests?” were the questions posed to students, Cumhuriyet stated.
“Students wrote various names on the paper due to fear,” the news report also suggested.