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The local education authority in the northwestern province of Kocaeli's İzmit district has warned teachers for refusing to distribute coronavirus (COVID-19) aid packages with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's signature.
The District Directorate of National Education has sent a message of warning with a "threatening tone" to the teachers, saying that necessary administrative action will be taken.
Citizens at the age of 65 and above are being distributed masks and Turkish traditional alcohol-based and lemon-scented cologne upon the orders of Erdoğan.
Last week, İzmit District Governor's Office sent an "important notice" to teachers, asking them to distribute the said aid packages.
The warning sent to teachers who refused to hand out the packages was slammed by the Education and Science Workers' Union, with its Kocaeli branch secretary saying that it had a "threatening tone."Turkish education union protests moving up national examinations despite COVID-19 threat
"The duty of public administrations is not to threaten public laborers, but to appreciate their occupational activities that they carry out under difficult circumstances during the pandemic and seek voluntariness if they are needed in other areas," Ömer Furkan Özdemir said.
"Their duty is not to make assignments that are arbitrary, baseless, political and unsanitary, as well as without a legal basis. As the union, we don't accept this threatening tone," he added.
Earlier, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question on the issue, asking Education Minister Ziya Selçuk the motive behind the move.
Before the warning was sent, İzmit District Governor Şevket Cinbir backtracked from the initial request and said that the teachers would participate in the aid distribution efforts voluntarily.