Solidarity and interest in cooperation with Turkish and Slovakian teachers
Open letters of solidarity issued by OHA (Hungarian Network of Academics)
Budapest, 26 January 2016
As scholars associated with universities and higher education institutions in Hungary and internationally, we are extremely disturbed by Turkey’s recent treatment of academics that have spoken out against atrocities being committed by the Turkish state against Kurds. We understand that 1,128 Turkish and Kurdish ‘Academics for Peace’ signed the statement on 11 January 2016 “We will not be a party to this crime”, calling on the Turkish government to cease hostilities against its Kurdish population. Since the publication of this statement, these academics have been subject to a sustained campaign of abuse and violence from both the Turkish state and its supporters. The legitimacy of detentions and future arrests has already been questioned by prominent legal experts and described as “extra-legal” decisions. We call on the Turkish government to withdraw its prosecutions, immediately release all those imprisoned and commit to the principles of academic freedom and free speech. We moreover reaffirm the Academics for Peace call on the Turkish government to cease their hostilities against Kurds.
We also would like to show our solidarity and interest in cooperation with our Turkish colleagues to protect the highly esteemed value of academic freedom, without which we are not able to fulfil our tasks in favour of the society in Hungary, Turkey, or elsewhere in the world. The Hungarian Network of Academics (www.oktatoihalozat.hu) was founded in March 2012 as an autonomous organisation of lecturers and researchers, active in higher education. Its aim is to preserve the achievements and values of the sphere of Hungarian higher education and research as well as to bring about reforms and renewal.
Budapest, 26 January 2016
We have been informed of your struggle for securing better working and living conditions to schoolteachers in Slovakia. Being university lecturers in Hungary (oktatoihalozat.hu), our case seems to be different. We can assure you that it is not. We published a petition on 7 December 2015 that has been signed by more than 2000 of our colleagues (peticiok.com/az_oktatoi_halozat_peticioja), demanding competitive salary, decent financing of the institutions of higher education in Hungary, and equitable working conditions. We understand that you have claimed significant raise in your salary, and better financing of Slovakian schools. We have learned from your information of 25 January 2016 (http://isu.sk/skoly-s-pedagogmi-zapojenymi-do-strajku/) that 736 schools and 11.501 teachers started strike. Congratulations on that!
We would like to express our solidarity with your claims. We hold that it is important for the associates of all the branches of human infrastructure to defend themselves against the budgetary cuts and other repressive measures our governments are taking, leaving deterioration in the operating conditions of the institutions of public education, health service and social care. We find it also important to seek for cross-border cooperation between the associates of the public institutions of human services, living in neighbouring countries, and coping with similar problems. We are calling for our human and professional appreciation. This is important not only for us, but for all those who rely on our services.