Two brave teachers - one university professor and one primary school teacher - have been on hunger strike for 75 days in protest at the arbitrary sacking of both themselves and thousands of their colleagues. Now the government, fearful that their stand might become the focus of protest, has arrested them both.

At least 150,000 public servants have been sacked and 50,000 arrested in Turkey in the past months. President Tayyip Erdogan has waged a relentless campaign against journalists and teachers in particular, under the pretext that they colluded with the attempted coup last year. In fact both groups have been reporting and defending democracy and the rights in particular of Kurdish people, who have been consistently repressed by the government. Egitim Sen, the Turkish teachers union, has of defending the Kurds and their right to their culture and to be taught in the Kurdish language. For this it has been frequently outlawed by successive governments and its leaders subject to arrest and harassment.

The arrest of the two teachers, Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca sparked protests on the streets of the capital Ankara, which were quelled by riot police. Nuriye wrote on her twitter account as the police came: "Political department police are trying to enter the house. They are now breaking the door... We have not and will not surrender!" Now they are refusing even to take saltwater and sugar solutions, according to , in protest at their detention.

Teachers everywhere must stand in solidarity with their Turkish colleagues and in particular Nuriye and Semih as they continue their heroic fight for democratic education and social justice.