Police tear gasses union members protesting teaching profession bill

Turkish police intervened with the Eğitim-Sen members marching to the parliament in protest of the proposed teaching profession bill in the capital Ankara. Educators believe the bill disregards their demands and does not propose solutions to their ongoing problems.

Duvar English

Teachers’ union members on July 9 gathered in front of Turkey’s Education Ministry to protest the teaching profession bill proposal, which was recently approved by the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports.

Police blocked the Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) members, who then held a sit-in demonstration in response to the police barricade obstructing their march.

Teachers protested the 39-article law proposal, which had begun to be debated in the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament, and chanted slogans in front of the ministry, including "No to the anti-teacher Teaching Profession Law," "Budget for teachers, not religious orders," "Resign, Yusuf Tekin, enemy of teachers," and "Parliament, reject the TPL."

Some members of parliament and officials from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Left (SOL) Party, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party supported the teachers' protest. 

The police did not allow the teachers to march from the ministry to the parliament. The route to the parliament was blocked with barriers, and riot police prevented the teachers from proceeding, according to reporting by the ANKA news agency. 

The police announced that the teachers should remain in the designated area for the press statement and urged them to disperse. The police announcement stated, "Do not resist our police. Your action is illegal. We will use force if you do not disperse."

After the police intervention, the educators regrouped and continued their protest with slogans, only to face a second intervention. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

During the intervention, two individuals who charged at the barricade were reportedly detained. Despite the intervention, the educators continued their sit-in.

Eğitim-Sen representatives have criticized the bill for not addressing some of the most pressing problems faced by Turkey's teachers today, such as professional honor, merit, justice and equality, safety, occupational diseases, violence, mobbing, gender equality, job security, the rights of disabled teachers, and the rights of teachers in the private sector.