Date posted: December 14, 2015
BURÇİN NEJAT DOKGÖZ / ÇORUM
Despite a ruling from the Constitutional Court and the Council of State annulling a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government-sponsored law that required privately owned exam preparation schools in Turkey to be closed down or converted, the Çorum Governor’s Office has ordered the closure of three prep schools as part of the government-led operation against institutions and businesses owned by the faith-based Gülen movement.
Following a written instruction from Çorum Deputy Governor Adil Saçan, police officers accompanied by Alaca District Education Director Hürrem Dursun raided a private FEM prep school in Alaca and sealed its doors on Thursday. Police officers then sealed the doors of the private Ahi FEM prep school in the province’s Osmancık district.
Later the same day, police officers went to the private Ahi Sevgi Çiçeği Anafen prep school — which is located in the same building as the education enterprise Çorum Private Education Services — in the city of Çorum. When lawyers representing the school objected, Çorum Deputy Provincial Education Director Yahya Çoban came to the prep school and personally ordered the officers to seal the doors. After disputing with the lawyers for four hours, authorities decided not to seal the whole building but only the classrooms within the school.
Today’s Zaman has learned from school officials that they had asked the Çorum Provincial Directorate of National Education to allow them to transform into a private high school, as the current regulation still allows, but were refused permission.
On July 13, the Constitutional Court annulled the controversial law in a five-to-12 majority vote on the grounds that it represented a violation of constitutional articles related to the right to education and freedom of labor. On Sept. 18, the Council of State annulled a circular sent to every governor’s office by the Ministry of Education that demanded all operating university preparation schools known as “dershanes” be closed and said that the ministry would take legal action against those still in operation.
After a major graft investigation implicating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top AK Party figures was made public on Dec. 17, 2013, the AK Party has targeted a number of private and prep schools that are sympathetic to the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan has accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said after the scandal emerged that he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 11, 2015