Students of Turkish school in Iraq learn four languages

A student at one of the 30 Turkish schools in Iraq answers questions from his teacher in front of the board while other students follow. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Kürşat Bayhan)
A student at one of the 30 Turkish schools in Iraq answers questions from his teacher in front of the board while other students follow. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Kürşat Bayhan)


Date posted: December 17, 2012

YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN, ARBIL / SULAIMANIYA

In Turkey, education in one’s mother tongue other than the official language, Turkish, has long been an issue of hot debate, but in the Kurdish region of Iraq, students have been graduating from Turkish schools having learned four languages.

“In this area, people know two or three languages. In our schools, they learn four languages — Turkish, Kurdish, English and Arabic,” said Talip Büyük, the general director of the Fezalar Education Company, which has opened 30 schools in Iraq, 18 of them in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the rest in various Iraqi cities, including three in Baghdad.

According to Büyük, there is no reason why a child cannot learn his or her native language in school.

“A society is enriched when it has the tools to teach its citizens their mother tongues,” he added.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) of Turkey and its predecessors have been calling for the right to education in the mother tongues of Turkey’s minorities for a long time, while the majority in Parliament opposes it on the grounds that granting the right to citizens to receive an education in their mother tongue would divide the nation.

Kurdish began to be offered as an elective language course in Turkish schools at the beginning of this academic term following the latest reforms in the educational system.

But many educational experts in Turkey say that an elective Kurdish course is far from meeting the demands of Kurds and falls short of solving an important part of the Kurdish problem.

The first Turkish school was opened in Arbil in 1994, Büyük said, adding that they were in Iraq when nobody was interested in the war-torn country.

“Those were years of war and conflict. The world had imposed an embargo on then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and Hussein had put an embargo on the Iraqi Kurdish region. No one from Turkey was here save intelligence officers and the Turkish Red Crescent,” he said.

The schools’ first graduates entered prestigious university departments such as medicine and engineering.

“Our graduates were highly successful. Recently, the top 10 graduates in all of Iraq were from our schools,” he added.

Now there are approximately 12,000 students in Turkish schools in Iraq.

Ishik University in Arbil, which sits on a large campus, is building a faculty of dentistry, a much-needed branch in the region.

Selahaddin Ayyubi College in Sulaimaniya sees the best graduates in the Kurdish region as it is a highly selective school.

Brightest Halabja students on scholarship

There is a special school in Halabja, a Kurdish town in northern Iraq. It opened three years ago with 100 of the brightest students, and ever since has accepted 100 more each year.

“The massacre in Halabja was the bloodiest of Saddam Hussein’s massacres,” Büyük said in reference to the March 16, 1988, attack by the Saddam Hussein government, which dropped chemical gas canisters on the town. At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack, and it is estimated that a further 7,000 people were injured or suffered long-term illnesses. Most of the victims of the attack on the town of Halabja were Kurdish civilians.

“We were thinking about what to do for the people of Halabja, and we decided to establish schools for free. Students are on scholarship, and we pay for the salaries of the educators. We teach four languages in the schools,” he said.

Source: Today’s Zaman 16 December 2012


Related News

Mr. Gülen’s felicitous advice on Kurdish issue, freedoms

BÜLENT KENEŞ The interview Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar, gave to Rudaw, an online newspaper in northern Iraq’s Arbil, resounded powerfully in the Turkish media. I must note that it would be wrong to analyze the views Mr. Gülen expressed in this interview within the scope of the developments that have occurred in the wake of […]

Symposium concludes: Hizmet (Gulen) Movement Contributes to World Peace

Professors said that Hizmet is an anti-violence group that uses education and dialogue to achieve its goals. One of the highlights of the symposium was Dr. Martha Kirk’s presentation called Iraqi Women of Three Generations. There are 32 Hizmet schools in Iraq and she said these institutions teach Iraqi women self confidence.

In Conversation with Fethullah Gülen (Interview in Asharq Al-Awsat-I)

While it is a movement inspired by faith, this [Hizmet movement] community of volunteers develops and delivers reasonable and universally acceptable projects which are in full compliance with humanitarian values and which aim to promote individual freedoms, human rights and peaceful coexistence for all people regardless of their faith.

Awards from Romanian Prime Minister to Turkish School Students

36 students from the International Computer High School of Bucharest (ICHB) won 46 medals in total. When the name of ICHB announced, the students of Turkish school did not fit on the stage.

High competition for Fezalar Institution in North Iraq

The competition is high for students who are looking to attend the Fezalar Educational Institution in northern Iraq. 7,250 students have applied for the entrance exam, however, only 650 seats are available for new students. The institution was founded nearly 14 years ago in Turkiye. Since then, it has branched out to five countries, including […]

Opposition CHP to take Gül-approved dershane law to Constitutional Court

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is preparing to take a controversial law closing Turkey’s dershanes, or private preparatory schools, to the Constitutional Court, the party said a day after President Abdullah Gül signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkey: Inspiring or insidious

Turkish Olympiad raises hopes for world peace

A Letter To The Free World | Hidayet Karaca

Gülen says prefers staying longer in US to avoid ‘harming positive things’

Festival brings Turkish arts and culture downtown

Closing prep schools as a new form of official tyranny

Education as a Bridging Factor of All Dimensions of the Sustainable Development

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News