Thousands of unemployed teachers protested in Turkey earlier this month about the government's failure to employ them, even though the public education service is crying out for more teachers. The teachers say that at least 40,000 are without jobs. General unemployment is also rising in the country - at about 11%, and rising to almost 20% for young people.

The Turkish government has maintained a policy of keeping teachers unemployed for years, and every year sees new protests by young people, desperate to be allowed to practice their chosen profession. Meanwhile the Turkish teachers' union, Egitim Sen, has been in the leadership of the fight for minority rights and democracy in the country, and for the right of children to have a secular education. For their pains, many teachers leaders have been arrested and imprisoned,

The plight of the young unemployed teachers is particularly sharp. At least 27 have killed themselves over the years, in despair as they wait either for a permanent contract of for any teaching job at all. One teacher said of his unemployed colleagues: " Their demands are simple: they want to do their jobs. They want to develop the country.They want to share what they have learnt with their students. The country needs teachers but teachers are jobless because of the wrong policy.Thats why we are protesting all around Turkey: we want everybody to live an honorable life."

As in so many countries, the neoliberal government of Tayyip Erdogan is running down public education as part of a strategy to decrease taxes, cut the deficit and increase privatisation.