Owner of Turkish private school attack teachers during meeting

The owner of the now-closed Private Tema College in Turkey’s northern Kastamonu province has attacked teachers during settlement meetings. Teachers received assault reports from the hospital and will press charges to revoke the admin license of the attacker. 

Duvar English

Malik Erdoğan, the owner of the now-closed Private Tema College in Turkey’s northern Kastamonu province, and his relatives attacked the school teachers as they met to settle severance payments.  

The school owner and associates called the teachers to discuss severance payments. During the meeting, three teachers and one teacher’s fiancé claimed they were attacked by Malik Erdoğan, his sons Erdem and Onur Erdoğan, and a relative, identified as Y.F.Ö., and reported the incident to the gendarmerie.

The four individuals obtained medical reports documenting their injuries from the city hospital.

Teacher Ali Özçağlı told reporters that the school’s sudden closure left them with unresolved contracts for the next year, according to the Anadolu Agency (AA). Özçağlı said, “Today, I and other teachers had meetings. When I went to meet, the school owner's son started pushing and hitting me. They then knocked me down. Three or four people attacked me and started beating me.”

Other teachers waiting for their meetings tried to break up the fight, Özçağlı noted. “The teachers who came to separate us were also attacked and knocked down. They tried to prevent a teacher from recording the incident. They hurled unspeakable insults. We called the gendarmerie,” he added.

Teacher Onur Yalçın described the assault as premeditated. “They blocked us from helping Ali. As we tried to reach him to stop the fight, they came after us and pinned Ali down to prevent him from getting up,” Yalçın said.

Ahmet Er recounted, “I saw the chaos, with Ali on the ground being beaten. In a panic, we tried to stop the fight. The school owners, whom I don’t know, inexplicably attacked me. The school principal knocked me down. I’m experiencing dizziness from a blow behind my ear,” Er said.

The Private Sector Teachers Union shared footage of the attack on social media. The post stated, “The owner and sons of Tema College attacked and beat the teachers who came for the meeting. The assaulted teachers reported that the attack was planned and organized, their lawyers were not allowed to attend the meeting, and they were invited to an environment that was psychologically and physically unsafe. They had informed the Provincial Directorate of National Education that the meeting environment was unsafe.”

Addressing Education Minister Yusuf Tekin, the statement continued, “Minister Yusuf Tekin and all related authorities, including the Kastamonu Provincial Education Directorate, must take immediate action against this vile attack. Malik Erdoğan and his sons, Erdem and Onur Erdoğan, should be prosecuted and stripped of their rights to manage an educational institution. Education and the welfare of students and teachers cannot be left in the hands of thugs and assailants.”

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Suat Özçağdaş commented on the incident on social media, “The reason for such assaults on private sector teachers is their precarious working conditions. As violence against teachers continues to rise, the Minister of National Education cannot remain silent.”

Özçağdaş pledged to follow the process closely and made an open call to Minister Yusuf Tekin, “The judicial process must be urgently initiated against the perpetrators, and the Ministry must ensure that they are duly punished.”

Turkey's private school teachers work under precarity and face expulsion or even violence when they demand rights.

Over 200 teachers at Turkey’s prominent private schools like Bilfen, Okyanus, İTÜ, TED, Doğa, Denizatı, and İstek were let go at the end of the school year, for protesting their administrations in demand of livable wages and decent working conditions.

While the Education Ministry has the authority to control and ensure fair wages for public school teachers, their private school colleagues are at the mercy of school owners. As private school tuition fees break new records each year, teachers try to get by with minimum wages and limited contracts.