Haydar Polat, a devoted elementary school teacher until he was dismissed by the latest government decree issued under post-coup emergency rule, is now earning his keep by selling dairy products at a biweekly outdoor market in İstanbul.
With 29 years of experience in teaching, Polat bring organic honey, cheese and beans from Tunceli to sell at Küçükbakkalköy open-air market in İstanbul’s Ataşehir district.
According to Duvar news portal, Polat was suspended like tens of thousands others in post-coup witch hunt and ultimately dismissed by the government decree on Saturday.
“I don’t even know the accusations for which I was dismissed,” Polat says.
“It makes me sad to keep away from my students, my hometown; and to work at an unrelated job,” he adds.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.
In line with a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the foiled coup, Turkey sacked some 41,500 from the Education Ministry alone, most of whom teachers, over their alleged links to the movement or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Overall, more than 105,000 have been removed from state positions, over 74,000 detained and 35,000 arrested mostly due to alleged links with the coup and the Gülen movement. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors, housewives and even a comedian.