Discrimination by AKP government [against Hizmet movement]

Emre Uslu
Emre Uslu

Date posted: December 12, 2013


Discrimination is one of the most pressing issues in Turkey. This issue has so far been debated in reference to the discriminative practices and policies vis-à-vis minorities, including Alevis and Kurds. Discrimination by the military against religious people during the Feb. 28 coup period has also partially been discussed.

However, discrimination by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which argues that it has addressed this issue vis-à-vis religious people, has never been analyzed. The recent row between the AKP and the Hizmet movement refers to an important and interesting fact, because it reveals this reality. In light of these discussions, bureaucrats who have been discriminated by the AKP government because of their views are now talking. Today, I would like to share two cases of discriminations sent to me by readers.

Here is what a reader, whose name I have kept confidential, says:

“Dear Emre Uslu,

We have been observing that the arbitrary removals from official posts you mentioned in your column have become ordinary in the Ministry of Education. I cannot understand what is going on.

You said a ‘pool of bureaucrats’ was created for high-level bureaucratic positions. Not only this, the ministry now even deals with low-ranking officials. In the appointments of administrators for the schools, they usually do not prefer teachers who are not members of Eğitim Bir-Sen [Education Personnel Labor Union], which is a pro-government union.

“In the appointments for schools principals, they now use interviews in addition to standardized exams. This practice has been taken to the judiciary. Even the education minister himself has admitted that they may lose the case in court.

We have seen that schools that previously had principal vacancies that could be filled by exam-based appointments were removed from the list. We did some brief research and realized that people who did not take the exam were appointed to these schools by the approval of the minister under a practice defined in Article 76 of the Law on Public Servants.

“Not only this, but only people who are members of Eğitim Bir-Sen are appointed to positions for paid exam supervision on the weekends. Just as how high-ranking officials grant public tenders, they arbitrarily grant exam supervision positions. Believe me that it really hurts to see that religious people do this. And I am telling you only part of the story. These cases only constitute the tip of the iceberg. Many of the principals appointed over the last three to four years have a background in theology, and many of them are members of Eğitim Bir-Sen.

“If a parliamentary inquiry is performed on this matter, the results would be shocking. Of course, the inquiry should not be like the one initiated in respect to the reports on activities of the Court of Accounts [which was criticized for being extremely inadequate].

“We are trying to do our best and raise our voices against unfair practices. But they are taking action against us because we are doing so. As a graduate of clerical school, I am doing my best to tell the truth all the time.”

Another victim of profiling whose name has also been kept confidential says:

“I now better understand why my personal attempts for promotion — made without asking any help from figures affiliated with the ruling party — have failed over the last years.

I would like to give you a concrete example. I made efforts to transfer from my current institution to another one that is under a different ministry. Despite the fact that the minister of where I wanted to work make efforts to initiate the process of transferring me, and despite my home institution responding to the receiving institution positively in regard to my transfer in March 2013, I have not yet been appointed to that post.

“Believe me, there would not be any raise in my salary at the new institution. I would have received the same amount. Well, it is not necessary for me to serve as bureaucrat in this country. I can be in service to my country in my current institution as well. I love my country. Sometimes, I think this is my fault. The president and prime minister frequently say in their speeches and statements that sons of this country will equally benefit from the opportunities of this country. But this is the result. They discriminate against you if you are not one of them. They send you to the bench; you are not allowed to play in the game. Only those who are not skilled at soccer are allowed to play. I am sorry; I am really upset, but I cannot write anymore on this matter.”

Those who argue that I was exaggerating when I defined this process as neo-Feb. 28 should read these very carefully. These are only a few of thousands of stories of victimization.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 12, 2013

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