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Teachers across Turkey are pressured to participate in the donation campaign launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to offer financial help to those hit by the coronavirus outbreak, country’s independent education union Eğitim-Sen claimed.

According to a report in daily Sözcü dated April 1, Ahmet Alagöz, the director of education in the province of Adıyaman, sent a message that reached all the schools in the province requesting teachers to donate to the campaign and then send a receipt proving they had done so. 

The notice sent by the director of education in the province of Adıyaman.

Chair of Eğitim-Sen Feray Aytekin Aydoğan criticized the messages sent out by local education officials across Turkey following Erdoğan’s launch of the campaign on March 30.

“During this difficult period, we reject the mobbing and pressure that teachers, educators and scientists have faced due to a campaign that should be voluntary,” Aydoğan said.

The union has vowed to take the matter, which they consider an imposition on behalf of their bosses to participate in the campaign, to court. 

According to a similar report in daily Cumhuriyet on April 1, one school principal sent a message to the teachers at their school saying “You can send your money to this account. But whoever is sending what amount should write me privately, I need to inform the district education director about the total amount.” 

Erdoğan vowed to donate seven months of his own salary to the campaign, but has been widely criticized for putting the burden of Turkey’s economic problems on the people while the government declines to take sufficient responsibility. 

Istanbul and Ankara municipalities launched separate campaigns to gather funds for citizens, however those funds were were blocked on March 31 following a formal notice of the Interior Ministry on the issue. Both municipalities took the ministry’s action to courts.