Education services have ground to a halt in a number of southeastern Turkish towns during curfews imposed to conduct casualty-free military operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, daily Hürriyet has reported.
As several towns have seen curfews last for more than two weeks, most students living in the country’s southeast were not able to focus on their courses or participate in class sessions for security.
More than 3,000 teachers working at schools in Cizre and Silopi, two districts in the southeastern province of Şırnak, fled to their hometowns upon a text message telling them to leave the towns, less than a day before the Şırnak Governor’s Office announced indeterminate curfews set to take effect in Cizre and Silopi at 11 p.m. on Dec. 14. The original text message asked the teachers to take an “in-service training that can also be completed at home.”
Turkey’s Education Ministry said in-service training could be provided during holidays as well as emergency situations, stressing that the ministry had the right to make major changes in exceptional cases.
In the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, an indeterminate curfew has been in place in Diyarbakır’s Sur district since Dec. 2, except for an hours-long break during which residents of the southeastern town fled their homes fearing for their lives. During fresh clashes in Sur on Dec. 14, two people were killed and two others were wounded after local police officers did not allow demonstrators to march in protest against the ongoing curfew.
In the southeastern province of Mardin, 33,000 students were not able to take a nationwide exam set for Nov. 25 and 26 for security reasons. In Mardin’s Derik district, 1,291 students were not able to take the exam because of the ongoing curfew at the time.
The districts where education services have been partly or completely interrupted included: The Çukurca, Şemdinli and Yüksekova districts in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the Beytüşşebap and Uludere districts in Şırnak and the Silvan, Dicle, Hani and Kulp districts in Diyarbakır.