Turkey: Education Reform Bill or “Operation to Bring and Install Religious Schools Back into the System”
Turkey, established as a secular country by Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK (and his friends) after the war of independence against the occupying emperialistic powers at the time has been governed by as secular system where religion and state matters are seperated from each other and the state does not impose its citizens any means of religious preferences (to include Islam) in spite of the reality over 95-99 percent of the population is recorded to be followers of this religion (in their birth certificates, at least).
Turkey has had some experinces in the past having to do with religious movements and parties like Selamet Partisi (headed by Erbakan) were able to get a minority of votes only, not to allow them to get hold of the power to govern the country.
Due to the very poor performance of existing parties at the time and corruptions by politicians (and of politics), as well as the support (claimed to be extended by USA from abroad, by many experts in the field) the Turkish people desperate for a new alternative preferred to give a chance to AKPARTI, headed by PM Tayyip Erdoğan.
People believed the members of said party would only care for this country and not involve in corruptions etc.
PM, with a very strong and assertive personality got hold of total command over the party and displayed quite a succesful performance in many fields such as improvement in infrastructure, construction, health care for citizens, transportation etc.
AKP (Akparti) on the other hand is known to be a pro-Islamic party and has its philosphy based on Islam religion. It has always been a question (even if hidden) in the agenda of Turkey “if AKP is determined to bring radical changes into the state bodies, judiciary, social life and matters having to do with women etc.”.
This concern has been a major issue with tens of millions of people in this country (at least fifty percent who have not voted for AKP).
The government has tried to show enough patience to wait for the (right) time to impose and apply new radical changes referred to above and recently brought the issue of Education Reform Bill back to Turkey’s agenda.
The government (and the related Ministry) has sort of displayed a very pre-matured attitude in a rush to pass the bill without obtaining the consensus of others involved. Nor has the government consulted with true experts and concerned professionals in the education sector including the teachers’ associations etc.
Consequently and judging on the data in hand so far, many people in the country have come to adopt the impression that the purpose behind this “too rushy” move to pass said bill, is putting into effect an “operation to bring and install religious schools back into the system”. Having said that, it could and sould be acceptable for a party to try to impose and apply its own program in parallel to its philosophy etc.
What is not acceptable at all though, is trying to stop citizens wishing to protest this situation using disproportionate force to intimidate crowds – who should (and are supposed to) have the right to protest, as secured by the “advanced” democracy in the country.
The concern here is “if the government in power has decided to start taking initiative to turn Turkey’s direction towards the destination they would like to go”; The prospect of having to live in a country where Islamic rules are also practiced in state matters.
In this century with so many facilities of communication globally, we believe it is not practical not would it be feasible to try to drag the country back to a system where religion has excessively more to say in state matters (eventually).
We believe, Turkey should stay a truely secular state where religion should be practiced beetween God and humanbeings and the state should in no way intervene to promote (and even worse impose or force) it.