Teacher convicted of throwing eggs at Erdoğan’s convoy sacked

A teacher of 17 years, Seçil Esmenur Erdem, was dismissed from her job by the Education Ministry after being convicted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and throwing eggs at his convoy during the president’s visit to Trabzon province in 2013.

An investigation was launched against the 42-year-old teacher on charges of insulting Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, and throwing eggs at his convoy on Nov. 23, 2013. Erdem was released pending trial and later ordered to pay a TL 7,800 fine by the Trabzon 2nd Criminal Court of Peace.

The Ministry of Education’s Higher Inspection Board (YDK) also launched an administrative investigation against the teacher.

Seçil Esmenur Erdem. (Photo: DHA)

According to media reports the YDK recently completed its investigation and unanimously decided to dismiss Erdem from her job. In the decision, delivered by the YDK on Sept. 30 of this year, the board said it had decided to dismiss the teacher from her job for “using words that include curses against then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and for throwing eggs at him.”

The decision of the YDK was sent to Erdem’s school, Kireçhane Middle School in the Ortahisar district of Trabzon.

Erdem had been suspended for a time during the administrative investigation, but she eventually returned to work.

Head of the Education Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen) Trabzon branch Mehmet Ekici claimed that the correct punishment for the charges directed at Erdem do not include being dismissed. He said the teacher’s union will apply to all the relevant courts, including the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) if necessary, to protect the rights of Erdem, who Ekici believes has suffered an injustice.

Speaking during a press conference held on Wednesday, Ekici said the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is “using the statehood power as an instrument of persecution against its own citizens.” Ekici also said that a sense of justice and rule of law has been decreasing day by day in Turkey, labeling the YDK’s decision against Erdem as one that is politically motivated.

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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