Speaking at Turkey Gathering of Eğitim-Bir-Sen, Ali Yalcin: 'We should establish global movement of conscience together'

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Expressing that they struggle to ensure everybody has a free and brotherly life compatible with human dignity, Ali Yalcin, President of Eğitim-Bir-Sen (Teachers’ Trade Union) and Memur-Sen (Confederation of Civil Servants’ Unions) said: “We do not demand that only for our country, but for all people of the world and struggle for that demand.”

 Speaking at the opening of 10th Turkey Gathering held in Antalya with the attendance of branch administrations, district representatives, deputies of representatives, women’s commissions and 36 executives from education unions of 15 countries, President Ali Yalcin began his speech, saying “Today is a meaningful day for us. It’s the 24th anniversary of our foundation, in other words birth anniversary of a quarter-century ‘Movement of the Righteous’. Today is the day when a small, but devoted group of people with great courage and faith took the road 24 years ago.  I’m greeting the leaders of  Eğitim-Bir-Sen’s growth and those making it walk with decisive steps toward new horizons from the peak, and those leaders of righteous union movement and those dedicated for resistance of humanity against prosecution, exploitation.”

Expressing that our national poet Mehmet Akif’s verses “Since we share the same faith for our cause/ We share the same joy, sorrow, purpose and conscience/ And since our hearths beat the same/ This front will not be shattered even if the world is destroyed” summarized the position and standing of Eğitim-Bir-Sen founded by Jerusalem poet Mehmet Akif, Yalcin continued: “If the matter is human, the direction we would go, if the matter is conscience, the place we stand and if the goal is to create a world order having humans at its core, our front must be the same. If our struggle is to prevent the exploitation of labour, we must proceed together without being afraid, devastated and demoralized. We cannot consider the struggle for fair wage seemly for human dignity as a struggle within white stones painted with lime. If we confine the organized power of labour to the national grounds, we cannot resist in the face of global exploitation.

We are in a world where ambition to win, the desire to be the biggest and the burning-devastating competition pose a global threat. Those who have intentions and goals of being good, being human, remaining human are forced to overlook such oppression and exploitation. 

We do not want to be doomed to live in a world where those considering people’s loss of their lives less important than money's loss of value determine balance of power. We have hope and goal for a world of which contact with justice is closer and interaction with mercy is deeper. We should realize a common mind which evaluates the events happening in Palestine, Arakan (Rakhine), East Turkistan, Egypt, and Syria from a more humanitarian perspective. We should establish together the global conscience movement which will not leave those exposed to oppression and exploitation alone. We should create a ground of common resistance that does not only help the victims, but also reacts to exploiters and imperialist and capitalist unities.”

We want to expand our  experience  sharing network through new agreements.

 Underlying that as Eğitim-Bir-Sen, their principle was to carry out union activity not merely through discourses, but through the actions, Yalcin continued his speech as saying that “We are aware that this burden is so heavy that it cannot be shouldered alone. With this understanding, we saw overseas union cooperation as part of our mission. We have to bring a new breath at the international level regarding union struggle, the labour's efforts to pursue its rights, and freedom reflexes of the humanity. We sustain our efforts to sign education and cooperation agreements with the education unions from various countries of the world and to create experience sharing courses. We have signed ‘education and cooperation agreements’ with totally 5 education unions, including two from Mauritania, two from Senegal and one from Morocco within the last three months. We want to expand our experience sharing network through new agreements.”

Stating that they are a strong union which produces precious acquisitions in the struggle of labour in Turkey, that they are an organization producing acquisitions regarding member, country, human and humanity and they transform organization into power and the power to acquisition, Ali Yalcin told: “We are striving very hard for the democratization of our country, expansion of freedom areas, elimination of guardianship and establishment of social justice. This is the fundamental truth behind our success of reaching 400 thousands and moving toward 500 thousands. 

We are the fastest-growing union of Turkey registering the highest number of members, competing only with itself, and breaking new records. We continue to make difference in the unionism field and union movement with our proposals, criticisms and acquisitions.”

Long live our unity, solidarity and struggle

Yalcin completed his words as the following: “Our main struggle is to ensure everybody has a free and brotherly life compatible with human dignity. We do not demand that only for our country, but for all people of the world and struggle for that demand. In an environment where the world is globalizing and the means of communication have increased, demanding the right of humanly life for only ourselves will be a demand for ‘individual comfort’.  Therefore, all people of the world have right to live a life in which income distribution is equal, people look to the future with confidence and use their union rights and freedoms, and live in accordance with human dignity. With these feelings and thoughts, I would like to thank all our members who contributed power to our union;  also express my gratitude to our friends engaged in union activity by accepting our invitation and whom we are honoured to host here in our country and who carried all colours of the world to the 24th Anniversary of our Establishment and 10th Turkey Gathering; and I would also like to thank the whole organization, with whom I am very proud of walking together, for their hard work in this struggle of labour, bread and freedom. Long live our unity, long live solidarity, long live struggle.”

After Ali Yalcin, each representative of education unions of foreign countries also gave a greeting speech. 

Saying that he is happy to be here on behalf of Education International, Shashi Bala Singh, Chief Coordinator of Asia- Pacific Regional Office of Education International, Malaysia, said that “Education International, which is voice of education employees around the world, is a powerful advocate of democracy, human rights, and union rights and protects rights of education employees. Education International also stands by victims of war. We would like to thank Eğitim-Bir-Sen for its works and thank Turkey and Eğitim-Bir-Sen especially for helping those women and children coming from Syria.”


Satinah Syed Salleh, Deputy Chairman of Malaysia Education Organization, who congratulated Eğitim-Bir-Sen for its acquisitions and significant organizations, told: “Education has become dynamic. With the technology, education curriculum continuingly changes. In order to provide an inclusive education, we need to work together. As you said during your Malaysia visit, we should improve our cooperation.”

 Yosra Saed Agil, President of Union of Palestinian Teachers in Europe: “Teachers have become refugees in Palestine, which has been occupied by Zionists since 1948, and dispersed across the world. We will establish a committee similar to the one in Lebanon and Syria. Despite all obstacles, we should collaborate. Education is our weapon against occupations. Such organizations would enable us proceed toward our target.”

 Sandra Kimovec, Head of Legal Affairs of Croatia’s Teachers’ Union: “Croatia’s Union of Teachers’ Association was founded last year. It has 28 thousands of members. Our union is one of the biggest unions with its employees in high schools and secondary schools. We are also member of European Union’s Education Trade Union. Here, I would like to thank especially the president. I would like to thank your country, your people. There is anything that your union could not achieve with such presidents.”

 Nevrus Kaptelli, President of Union of Education and Science of Albania: “We congratulate Eğitim-Bir-Sen on behalf of our union. We are really happy to be here. We are visiting our old friend sharing the same values. Our union is the biggest union in Albania. Our union founded in 1991 is the only union signing collective contract with Ministry of Education. I would like to thank Mr. Ali Yalcin. We gathered thanks to him. It’s a meaningful day for you and so it will be; because we will sign a cooperation agreement with Eğitim-Bir-Sen.”

Azim Obaidullah Chairman of Council of Teachers’ Organization and Ideal Teachers of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami: “I would like to thank you all on behalf of Islamic movement in Bangladesh. There are historical ties between Bangladesh and Turkey. The main reason of ummah’s pain is their inability to produce anything in the name of science, knowledge and morality.  We carry out our activities despite cruelties. I’m very happy to be here.” 

Abdelilah  Elhalouti, President of Union of National Education Workers of Morocco (FNFE): “I have learnt many lessons from Mr. Ali Yalcin. He touched upon significant issues. Our people are fellows of Turkey’s people. Turkey has stood by the oppressed groups and wiped their tears.  Our union was founded in 1993. It has provided great services since then. We will continue the same services in the next periods, insallah!”   

Osman Mohamed Ahmed Abdelsadig, Deputy Chairman of Sudan Education Union: “If there is a teacher, it means there is life. I’ve brought greetings for you from Sudan on behalf of teachers and science union. I’m very happy to be present at 10th Turkey Gathering and the foundation anniversary of Eğitim-Bir-Sen. Our union is the biggest teachers’ union of Sudan. We made great efforts to gain our members’ rights. We protect rights of all our employees.”  

Selvedin Satorovic, President of Independent Union of Primary Education and Education of Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation: “People of Bosnia-Herzegovina will never forget what Turkey did for them. They will never forget aids you sent. We know how hospitable you are. This meeting indicates that people and unions of Turkey have come to a leading position in the world. I wish your achievements will continue. I also congratulate you for this program you organized. Your achievements will enlighten our way. Strong Turkey, Strong Union, Strong Memur-Sen”

Fikret Bejtovic, Head of Delegation for Independent Union of Education Workers of Serbia- Sand?ak: “I convey the greetings of Serbia and Sand?ak region. With God willing, we will be together with 1 million members in the next meeting.”

Faik Muhovic, President of Education Union of Pljevlja Province of Montenegro’s Northern Sand?ak Region: “During the days when we were your guests, we witnessed your achievements. I believe that you will make great achievements in future. I’m very happy to be with you. I brought greetings from Montenegro. I congratulate your 24th anniversary and wish a continued success for you. I’m inviting you to our country. Our cooperation will continue forever.”

Ferhat Chabekh, President of Algeria’s Education Union: “There are 25 unions affiliated with our confederation and we are one of these unions. Our organization was founded in 1960. As confederation, we have 2 million members. We are the only authorized union. We are here to develop good relations with Eğitim-Bir-Sen. We want to sign a cooperation agreement.”


Boudjenah Abdelkerim, President of National Teachers’ Union of Algeria: “0I congratulate Eğitim-Bir-Sen for its 24th foundation anniversary.  I wish the meeting will bring opportunities for Eğitim-Bir-Sen at international level. We want to build a society with strong human rights and social rights We want to protect all social security rights of our employees. We follow new developments in education system and convey them to our members.”    


Mustafa Al-Asaad, Head of Turkey Branch of Syrian Teachers’ Association:   “The president of our union in Syria would like to come, but he could not due to the war. Our union was born in Turkey.  There are thousands of Syrian students in Turkey. We’re aware of your support. I would like to thank Turkey and Eğitim-Bir-Sen.” 

Mohamedou Rabani, President of Union of Independent Teachers (SIPES) of Mauritania: “Our first union was education union. Thank you for your organization. We believe that ambitious people like you will achieve great work. You have plenty of members. We closely follow your activities. We want to cooperate and take common actions.”

Muhrem Shakjirovski, International Relations Specialist of Education Union of Central Jupa Municipality of Macedonia: “I would like to thank Ali Yalcin, the president of the largest union of this country that invited us and thank distinguished deputies of the president.  I’m grateful to be present such an organization. We consider ourselves not guests, but Turkish citizens. As a consequence of cooperation with you, we hope educators in Macedonia will reach a better position.”

Rrahman Jasharaj, Chairman of Kosovo Education Union: “I’m proud of being here. I want to participate in your next activities. I’m greeting all of you on behalf of my union. We want to invite you to Kosovo and improve our cooperation.”

Following the speeches, a protocol on cooperation was signed with the representatives of education unions from 14 countries.  

Moreover, Deputy President Ymer Ymeri and International Relations Specialist Jehona Oruqi of Kosovo Education Union,  President Haxhi Arifi of  Kosovo Confederation of Unions,    International Relations Specialist Ozcan Suleymanovski of Teachers’ Union of Central Jupa Municipality of Macedonia, Deputy President Arian Peraj  of Union of Education and Science of Albania,  President Devad Hadzic of Union of Elementary and High Education, Education, Science and Culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina,  Deputy President Saudin Sivro of Independent Union of Primary Education and Education of Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation, Chairman Zuma Hodzic of   Women’s Committee of Independent Union of Education Workers of Serbia- Sand?ak, Deputy President Ševala Harbic of Education Union of Pljevlja Province of Montenegro’s Northern Sand?ak Region, Chairman Nbeya El Ghaida of   Women’s Committee of Confederation of Egalitarian Unions of Mauritania, President Sneiba Sidi Mohamed of Liberal Teachers’ Union of Mauritania, Advisor Mazen Rachid of Turkey Branch of Syrian Teachers’ Association, Regional Manager Muhammad Alhummada of Mardin, Press-Secretary Khalid Essatte of  Union of National Education Workers of Morocco (FNFE),  Chairman Halima Alshiekh Abdelrahman Dafalla of Women’s Committee of Sudan Education Union,   Coordinators Maher Shawish and Moin N. Naim of Overseas Palestinian Professional Groups and Associations, Director Mustapha İdrissi of Algeria’s Education Union,  Organization Secretary Kouıder Yahıaouı and Director Achour Lımane of Algeria’s National Teachers’ Union attended the program.  

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