Unassigned Turkish teacher commits suicide after failing to secure job for four years

While a 25 years old unassigned social sciences teacher commits suicide, an administrator from the ruling AKP party posts an offensive tweet on this misery
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:44

Merve Çavdar, a 25 years old unassigned social sciences teacher in the Aegean province of Aydın, committed suicide on April 16 after being unemployed for the last four years.

The situation is known to have caused depression among a number of teachers were reported to have committed suicide because of this in recent years. Çavdar, similarly, was reported to be in the depression, and was later put on medication. 

She was the daughter of a working-class family living on daily wages with three children. Her funeral ceremony was held on April 17.


Şeyda Korkmaz, a local administrator of ruling AKP party's youth branch in İstanbul, posted an offensive tweet on Çavdar's death. In her post, Korkmaz dubbed Çavdar an atheist and a possible CHP voter in the upcoming elections. Korkmaz said "There are 500 thousand unassigned teachers. Those having fear of God do not commit suicide. It means she [Merve Çavdar] was an atheist and a deist. Her place will surely be hell. Of course, God is the one who is to decide on it, and yet it seems obvious. Additionally, CHP [the main parliamentary opposition party] lost one vote."

The suicide of Merve Çavdar reminded the words of ex-minister of National Education Nabi Avcı. In an answer to criticisms of MPs regarding unassigned teachers during a parliamentary session in 2016, Avcı commented that the suicides among unassigned teachers "aim to attract attention." The words of Avcı reflects the general perspective of the ruling AKP government towards the problems of unassigned teachers.


There are currently 412,015 unemployed teachers with diplomas in Turkey. Teachers rank second in the list of unemployed graduates. However, the number of schools in the country has risen from 63 to 92 and the number of students has risen from 14,000 to 228,000 in the past 15 years. 

"Forty-five of our colleagues have ended their lives because they could not be assigned," said Feray Aytekin Aydoğan, director of the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) in January, drawing attention to the depressing unemployment rates.

In 2017, the AKP government announced that the Ministry of Education does not need any teachers in a total of 20 subjects including philosophy and psychology until 2023. Some experts say a million unemployed teachers to be waiting for their assignments by 2022.

As the government stops the appointment of teachers, it also removes teachers’ job security. 

The AKP, which has been trying to impose employment policies based on an unsecured, flexible working and performance system for years, started the 'contracted employment' imposition after the July 15 failed coup attempt. 

There are more than 200,000 students on the path to a diploma that would grant them the license to teach, according to numbers provided in the Education Ministry’s Strategic Report. Including university students studying literature, literary and human sciences and religious studies, more than 650,000 undergraduate students are headed towards a bleak future.