Fears are growing for teachers and academics in Turkey as the government of Tayip Erdogan sacks 15,000 in the wake of the attempted army coup.

Turkish teachers have long been a target of the Erdogan government as they fight not only for education funding but also for social justice. Thousands of qualified teachers in the country are unemployed while class sizes are often huge. And the teachers' union Egitim Sen also fights for secular education, against the increasing islamisation of the curriculum by the government, as well as the right of children in the large Kurdish minority to be taught in their own language.

As part of their commitment to social justice, Egitim Sen has also offered help to Syrian refugees. As a result of all these actions, union members and leaders have been singled out by the government for repression, with many arrests. As Egitim Sen said in a statement after the Suruc massacre of young people last year:

We believe that every human being should support each other during these terrible times. We never have been afraid of the dreadful attacks of ISIS and imperialist powers in the Middle East against Kurdish, Turkish, Alawite, Armenian and other people. We are always in favour of democracy and peace. Our actions and policies are well known by the society.

Before the coup took place, hundreds of academics had been subject to investigation and possible sacking because they were signatories to a statement defending the rights of Kurdish people in the South East against government violence and curfew. As a result a protest march was planned for today, 20th July, in Ankara where the investigation is taking place.

Teachers and their unions everywhere should send messages of solidarity.