The Hunt for Anonymous Witnesses in Ankara Schools

Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice

by Sinan Tartanoğlu

The Hunt for Anonymous Witnesses in Ankara Schools

Gezi Park investigations commissioned by the Ministry of National Education (MNE) on students and teachers have reached incredible proportions. The principals of several schools in Ankara summoned pupils to schools during the summer holiday. Students were then instructed to write down names of teachers who have “encouraged them to join the protests” and of fellow students who “have joined the protests.” Principals also assured the teenagers that their names would not be revealed and told them “not to worry.”

Not a day goes by without a new scandal breaking out in the Gezi Park investigation conducted by the MNE on students and teachers through unreasonable means, sometimes with the support of resources originally allocated to the Police Department. A single name is yet to be identified in the investigation that has been carried out on the basis of videos and printed documents supplied by the Police Department.

Secondary school students summoned one by one

On the urge of the Ankara Ministry of National Education to “finalize the investigations at once,” school administrators in the city caused a new scandal. Several principals in Ankara individually telephoned 6., 7. and 8. graders to invite them to school despite the summer break. The students were gathered in a classroom.

Students pressured to name fellow students

Students then received sheets of blank paper and were ordered to write down “names of teachers who told them not to go to school on 6th and 7th June”, “names of teachers who encouraged them to join the protests” and “names of students or teachers who joined the protests.” Many scribbled names out of fear.

“Don’t worry; you will remain anonymous”

While the students were told “not to write their own names on the papers,” they were assured that “no one except them – neither their teachers nor their friends – would know who wrote what.”

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