ŞAHİN ALPAY Colleagues and friends ask me, “What is the reason for the feud between the government and the Gülen movement and between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen?” This is, briefly, my response. In Turkey the demand for education is very high. Universities are unable to meet the demand and there are […]
It may be surprising, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is boosting the polarization resulting from the prep school debate. Obviously, though, he is having trouble pursuing his goal. He took the time to give lengthy answers to reporters’ questions about the prep schools debate just before he flew to Russia and he directly engaged in polemics with the Gülen movement.
Medialog platform, which is part of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, has just announced that the 26th meeting of covering Turkey will be held on November 26, 2013 to discuss the past, present and future of prep schools. The meeting will address this highly debated issue in Turkish socio-political context.
The tension between the government and Gülen’s movement (also known as the “Community,” “Cemaat” in Turkish, or “Service,” “Hizmet” in English) has escalated after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced plans to abolish private examination prep schools, many of which were financed and run by Gülen’s followers. The tension has recently peaked, with Erdoğan describing the group’s objection to his government’s plans as “a smear campaign.”
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said ongoing debates over a recent controversy over the government’s move to shut down prep schools should not lead to “resentment.” The government’s plan to ban private tutoring institutions that train students for high school and university entrance exams has divided society and led to fear among some segments of the public that socioeconomic differences may further affect students’ academic achievement after the closure.
We all know that Turkey has to solve a number of critical problems to become a democratic, pluralist and transparent state that is ruled by law. It would be a good start to ask who is going to have priority in the country: Is it the people or the state? Once you put the people at the center, rather than the state, then you have to accept that no way of life can be imposed on people.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government decided recently to close down preparatory schools, establishments that help Turkish students prepare for high school and college entrance exams. In a free market economy, whenever there is a demand for a good or service, its corresponding supply is created naturally; it’s that simple. However, the debate became furious and shifted into the political arena.
According to Bugün columnist Adem Yavuz Arslan, some newspapers, such as Akit, use very harsh language against the Hizmet movement in the prep school debate. Arslan wrote that newspapers are free to criticize things, but the criticism cannot be made as a form of revenge. The right to open a prep school is a democratic right, Arslan said.
Another deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has criticized a recent government plan to shut down prep schools, saying that these institutions are not the cause of problems in the education system but a consequence of the current system. Günay’s remarks come one day after the AK Party referred Kütahya deputy İdris Bal to the party’s disciplinary board for expulsion after he opposed the government’s plan to close prep schools.
Connor Adams Sheets The Turkish phrase “Hiç Durmadan Hizmete Devam” went viral on Twitter Thursday afternoon via the #HiçDurmadanHizmeteDevam hashtag, as Turks around the globe decried Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s refusal to reconsider his decision to close the country’s private “prep” schools. “Hiç Durmadan Hizmete Devam,” loosely translated as “do your service without stopping,” is a […]
Thanks to the prep school system, with reasonable payments, the children of the “Black Turks” or “Mountain Turks” gain the chance to compete with the children of “White Turks” under equal standards. They, after graduating from good universities, become judges, teachers and academics and act as a catalyst in undermining pathological ways of thinking like labeling people as reactionary.
Will Prime Minister Erdoğan really close prep schools down if he is bent on it? Why not? Although Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, speaking after a Cabinet meeting last Monday, tried to reassure people by announcing that the government will discuss the matter once more with the stakeholders involved, PM Erdoğan refuted Arınç once again by saying they would shut them down. Isn’t this sufficient in showing his resolve in this regard?
PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a live TV interview on Wednesday night that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will not back down from its decision to close prep schools and listed his government’s arguments, many of which contradict official data, statistics and results of surveys carried out on the issue. According to surveys, 85 percent of the families who send their children to prep schools are low-income families.
In the meantime, BDP Co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş struck a similar tone to the prime minister regarding the prep schools’ closure, saying that prep courses must be shut down. Demirtaş said the closure is a political as well as commercial issue, casting doubts on the government’s desire but expressing his approval at shutting down prep schools.