Turkish Education: Same Old Religious Obsession, Only Worse

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Turkish Education: Same Old Religious Obsession, Only Worse

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

 

  • In 2017, Turkey stopped teaching evolution at secondary school: for extremists, Darwinism remains a taboo subject. Instead, school textbooks started teaching Turkish pupils “jihad.”
  • A good school, according to extremists, is not where science is taught at universal standards; it is where pious students grow.
  • Turkey’s Higher Education Board in 2016 asked 1,577 university deans (reportedly every dean in the country) to resign “for the sake of democracy.”

Secular Turks were shocked when Binali Yıldırım, then Minister of Transport, explained that in his youth, he changed his choice of university to avoid a school where male and female students sat together. (Photo by Erhan Ortac/Getty Images)

Secular Turks were shocked when Binali Yıldırım, then Minister of Transport, explained to an interviewer why, in his youth, he changed his choice of university:

“I visited Bogazici University and saw that girl and boy students were sitting together… I feared I could go astray. And I decided to attend the technical university.”

Yıldırım who later became President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s choice for prime minister now serves as parliament speaker.

It is not surprising that for Turkey’s extremists, governance broadly means the Islamization of everything, including education at every level. In a 2017 speech, Erdoğan boasted that, after his Justice and Development Party came to power, the number of students at the religious imam hatip schools rose from 60,000 to 1.3 million.

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