ANKARA — Confidential documents obtained by the Nordic Monitor reveal that the Turkish government has secretly blacklisted 138,000 pre-university students, because they were enrolled in schools owned and run by groups opposed to the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Turkish Ministry of Education prepared a database that identified about 138,000 students from kindergarten to the 12th grade. The Ministry database targeted the best-performing schools in the country linked to the Gülen movement.
The database aimed to help the Turkish authorities identify government critics and opponents by tracking their children enrolled in such schools.
The identification of children in a special database and the sharing of their information with the security authorities raises concerns that they may be deprived of government jobs in the future under pretexts related to national security.
This measure is a flagrant government disregard of legal procedures, the presumption of innocence, and fair trial guarantees for its citizens. It also appears that Erdoğan is intent on misusing the criminal justice system to track critics and their families in a country where the rule of law is suspended.