Union wins right to exist

4th March 2005 at 00:00
TURKEY

The country's largest teachers' union, Egitim-Sen, has survived a threat to its existence with a legal victory that has delighted human rights activists.

The case, brought by the state, was provoked by a clause in the union's constitution that calls for mother-tongue education. This is a highly sensitive subject in Turkey, where conflict over demands from the country's ethnic Kurds for education in Kurdish has been long, bitter and sometimes violent.

State prosecutors said that calling for mother-tongue education violated the constitution, which states that the country's language is Turkish and no other language may be taught as a mother tongue in any educational institution.

Alaaddin Dincer, general secretary of Egitim-Sen, said: "In terms of basic human rights, cultural rights, and for the individual to be able to protect his or her language, education in mother tongue is necessary. And the impossibility of receiving this is a contravention of rights."

The language clause had led to an earlier attempt to ban the union last year. This had also been rejected by the courts, but prosecutors had then appealed. The Supreme Appeals Court then ruled in the prosecution's favour, sparking Monday's retrial.

Mr Dincer praised the action of the court for rejecting the case against the union, saying that the rule of law had been upheld.

The case was observed by many human rights groups and European Union officials, who are looking closely at Turkey's human rights record before it starts membership accession talks in October.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now