Teachers that have come to Turkey from Greece, although their salaries are being paid, cannot attend class because the Istanbul Directorate of National Education has not issued the necessary permission. Istanbul Deputy Director of National Education Murat Altınöz, on the other hand, states that the procedure for the solution of the problem has been completed.
EMRE CAN DAĞLIOĞLU
‘Quota teachers’ that have come from Greece to Turkey to work at Greek schools in Turkey within the framework of the agreement signed between Turkey and Greece 53 years ago, have still not begun active duty although almost half the semester has passed because the necessary permission from the Istanbul Directorate of National Education has not been issued. The response from the Directorate of National Education given upon the request of schools fails to explain the situation. In contrast, teachers that have been assigned by Turkey to Western Thrace according to the “reciprocality” principle that has been implemented until now began duty on October 8 without encountering any problem.
16 teachers waiting
The failure of the 16 quota teachers from Greece to start duty has created great difficulty at Greek schools that are experiencing a shortage of teachers. The schools are struggling to supplement the gap created by the fact that “quota teachers” cannot work with the other teachers on staff. Teachers that have come to Turkey from Greece, although their salaries are being paid, only commute to and from the school at present without attending class because the Istanbul Directorate of National Education has not issued the necessary permission.
Istanbul Deputy Director of National Education Murat Altınöz, whom we interviewed on the issue, pointed to bureaucratic problems and the schools’ delay in submitting their lists of requirements as the cause of the problem. Altınöz claimed that they always provided all the convenience could in issues related to minority schools, and added that the procedure for the solution of the problem had been completed and that the necessary permission would be conveyed to the schools until the weekend.
The problem of ‘reciprocality’
“Quota teachers” from Greece, in accordance with the advisory jurisdiction of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers dated 1949, and in the framework of the Cultural Treaty signed between Turkey and Greece, serve in Turkey to cater for the shortage of teachers in certain topics. Their salaries are paid by the State of Greece. According to the principle of “reciprocality” implemented by the two countries, for teachers to come to Turkey from Greece, an equal number of teachers must be sent from Turkey to Turkish minority schools in Greece. This implementation of “reciprocality”, which has hindered the assignment of the required number of teachers to Turkey, was used especially in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to obstruct teacher exchange between the two countries, and the bureaucracy of both countries put forth various excuses to prevent teachers from starting duty. In the 1990s, “quota teachers” who came to Turkey could only receive permission to start work after Easter, when the semester was about to end. However, no such problems had been experienced in the last decade.