OBESSU is delighted to introduce you to our new Affiliate Organisation, Türkiye Öğrenci Senatosu (TÖS) . The Senate of Students of Turkey, in English, was founded in 2018 with the values of secularism, democracy and achieving progress at its core. Despite being very young, they have embarked on a very busy program of events in the past year, with plenty more to happen in the coming months.

The organisation will be presented at the upcoming COMEM and Ex-GA and will attend events from after this - for now check out a short interview with their president Zana Gümüş.

Can you tell us a little about the history of TÖS?

The Senate of Students of Turkey was officially founded in the summer of 2018 by Zana Gümüş, Muhammet Yasin Edemen, Kerem Can Soygül, Orhun Akdağ and Buğra Nayir. The debut of the Senate was a workshop about the educational system, secularism and religiousness on education, practical and theoretical education, and the progress of the current educational system. The workshop took place at Kağıthane Halk Eğitim Merkezi ( People’s Educational Centre of Kağıthane) on 8th and 9th of September. Following the workshop, the Senate organized a Story and Poetry Contest this Autumn. The winner of the contest received a merit scholarship from the Senate. The Senate represents and defends the rights of the students in Turkey and aims to improve the Turkish educational system. The Senate is largely spread: it has representatives in most of the cities of Turkey.

What are the main educational struggles of young people in Turkey?

Our struggles not only involve the system itself and the curriculum, but also the teachers status and economic barriers to education. 45% of teachers are struggling to find a school to teach. Violence and ethical issues in school environments are raising in the country, mostly in the eastern parts. Lack of economic power results in lack of schools and equipment. In the curriculum, other religions than Islam are discarded. VET schools (Meslek Liseleri), are irrelevant for the government’s agenda and are left in chaos. Unfortunately, this list goes on.

What is the motivation behind your interest to join OBESSU?

Considering that the future of students in Turkey is at stake, we have to expand into a global status for the perseverance of our objective. With our involvement in OBESSU millions of students in Turkey will be represented in an organisation like yours. This is also a very important step for Turkey, to become a member of the Council of Europe and Candidate of the European Union. At the same time, we think it’s great for an organisation like OBESSU to contribute to our plans, because more thoughts and more voices can bring us a better determination and judgment of our progress. In Turkey, millions of students don’t know OBESSU - yet! Being involved in OBESSU will also help improve our legitimacy in Turkey. Joining OBESSU is for us a massive step towards the continuation of our dream of a brighter future for education in Turkey.