Students in Turkey skipped school, joined global climate strike

Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's weekly protests, students from Turkey joined the global youth climate movement's strike and organised school boycotts across the country, Turkish news website Bianet reported on Friday.

Today young people in more than 100 countries walk out of class to demand action on the greatest threat humankind has ever faced; climate change.

Listening to the call of Thunberg, students from Turkey also skipped school and came together in the parks of Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, the north-western city of Bursa and the eastern city of Iğdır, according to Bianet. Students made a call to everyone who has played a role in the current global climate change, especially politicians and businesspeople.

Some students in Istanbul gathered in Bebek Park, carrying placards which read "Don't play with my future, don't burn coal", "There is no planet B" and "Hi Greta, your voice is rippling in the Bosporus".

“We didn’t go to school today, because the school can wait, but climate change doesn’t,” said Atlas Sarrafoğlu, one of the students who joined the strike in Istanbul.

"The number floods, tornadoes, hurricanes are increasing because of climate change, dams are getting dry due to extreme temperatures, plants are decreasing in number, you have created it. You have created it, you burnt the coal which has led to climate change, you used the oil, you, adults, cut down the forests. We didn't pollute the seas as children, we didn't throw the plastics found in the stomachs of whales, it is not us who erected concrete buildings," Sarrafoğlu said.

Another student, Samra, who came from the southern Turkish district Dalyan, said she joined the protest to support the Swedish teenage activist instead of going to the school.

"Before I came here, I didn't expect that it would be so crowded. I am a bit tired, but I am also very happy. We are giving an ear to the call of Greta. It is not too late to save the planet," Bianet quoted Samra as saying.

The global school strikes for climate, initiated by Thunberg in August 2018, have been taking place for 30 weeks now all around the world.  Students are putting their collective voices together in a coordinated global school walkout, called Youth Strike 4 Climate. So far, strikes are planned in almost 1,700 towns and cities in over 100 different countries.