Education unions have slammed the decision by the Turkish government to withdraw teachers from the towns of Cizre and Silopi in South Eastern Turkey, as it pursues its war with the Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK. Teachers received a text message from the education department telling them to go back to their home towns for 'training', thus effectively ending schooling for children in the area.

Education unions say that instead of withdrawing teachers and leaving children to their fate, they should be making sure that schools are safe and secure. The President of the teaching union, Egitim Sen said: “The Ministry of Education's action will lead to serious psychological harm to children by separating them from their teachers. The duty of the ministry is not to support the government's policies of war but to fight against all kinds of problems and practices that can obstruct education and the teaching process.”

Hundreds of teachers have left the towns, which are at the heart of the conflict but others have chosen to stay. Meanwhile it is believed that security forces are planning a major action against the PKK, leading many residents to flee their homes. 

Teachers have been in the forefront of the struggle for democracy in Turkey against an ever more dictatorial government, which appears to be ramping up the violence occurring in the country.