The management of a high school in the western province of Kocaeli has issued a written warning for a group of students who distributed packages of tea in their classroom, daily Evrensel reported on Oct. 6.
The students were accused of “imitating the President in a mocking way.”
The principal of Kocaeli Anatolian High School in Kocaeli's Başiskele district, Sabit Mehmet Limon admitted having sent the warning to the students.
“Yes, this happened; we have warned the students and notified our parents. Due to the guidelines sent by the [Education] Ministry to schools, such a warning was issued. If the students are at fault, we have to notify the parents,” Limon was quoted as saying by daily Evrensel.
The Kocaeli branch of the Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) slammed the school administration's action, saying that it was not their job to “be a detective” on behalf of the president. “We do not accept that our students are treated as if they are criminals,” the union said, calling on the school management to instead ensure that the students “grow up to be people with independent ideas and conscious.”
In July, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threw boxes of tea to victims of the flood-stricken province of Rize. A week later, in a similar move, he again tossed bags of tea at residents from a bus during a visit to the fire-hit Aegean Marmaris district.