Turkish teacher dies after governor's scolding

Turkish teacher dies after governor's scolding

Turkish teacher dies after governors scolding

Teacher Halil Serkan Öz attended the protest in Yalova on April 3.

A teacher has died of a heart attack in western Turkey during a protest against a governor who had reprimanded him for his physical appearance at the school.

Halil Serkan Öz, an award-winning mathematics teacher at Termal Science High School in the Yalova province, was harshly criticized by Governor Selim Cebiroğlu in front of his students on March 27.

"What's this hair, this beard? What kind of teacher are you? People who see you in the street would think that you are a beggar," Cebiroğlu was quoted by Turkish media as saying to Öz.

The teachers' union in Yalova organized a march in support of Öz on April 3, condemning the governor's "insult" and called for an end to "the official policy of creating uniform teachers."

Teacher Öz, who attended the demonstration, suddenly collapsed while marching in Gazipaşa Avenue, Doğan News Agency reported, suffering a heart attack. He died in the ambulance while being transferred to a hospital in the neighboring Bursa province, according to the report.

Öz, who was recently divorced from his wife and was reportedly depressed over the governor's reaction, was once awarded by the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

'Fatally breaking his heart'

Governor Cebiroğlu's words has been widely criticized in Turkey since last week.

Most recently, Cem Yılmaz, arguably Turkey's most popular comedian, delved into the issue, although he has been known for avoiding political themes for years.

"Crushing a man by using the powers of an official position, fatally breaking his heart... What a pity that the poor teacher died. Let you rise to even more important positions, Mr. Governor!" Yılmaz said in a tweet on April 4.

Cebiroğlu, on the other hand, released a message of condolences on April 4. "As Yalova, we feel deep sadness over the death of Science High School teacher Halil Serkan Öz, who was an invaluable member of our education community," he said.

"The governor can be at ease now as my son has died," the late teacher's father Kemal Öz said on April 4, according to Cihan news agency.