Turkey’s Plans to Abolish Private Tutoring Centers Arrests Free Enterprise and Democracy


Date posted: November 27, 2013

 NEW YORK

The Alliance for Shared Values considers Turkish government’s proposal to abolish fee-based private preparatory courses for admission exams and free private tutoring centers as government overreach and categorically opposes it. This unprecedented action:

1. Contradicts core principles of free enterprise and democracy: All major stakeholders from across the political spectrum have expressed opposition to this legislation. If enacted, it will make Turkey the only “democratic” country in the world to abolish a whole category of private enterprise, which employs more than 100,000 teachers and staff and serves millions of students.

2. Fails to address underlying need and raises questions about government’s motives: These centers fill a hole in Turkey’s education system as the limited high-quality educational institutions are not enough to meet the needs of all students. Attempting to abolish these centers without addressing the underlying need not only curbs free market and restricts the students’ right to receive education beyond their schools; it also raises questions about the government’s political motives.

3. Limits equal opportunity and paves way for recruitment to terrorist organizations: Children from low-income families use these centers to enter top public schools as they compete with those who can afford individual tutoring and expensive private high schools. Without these centers, opportunities for them will diminish as they will lack the life-changing education that leads to careers in medicine, law, business and engineering. Many of these tutoring centers serve youth who are targets of recruitment by terrorist organizations which operate around the border in east and southeast Turkey.

4. Contradicts provisions of Turkish Constitution and International Human Rights: This proposal contradicts Article 48 of Turkish constitution, which protects legal private enterprise, as well as International conventions that Turkey has signed, such as Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Protocol 1 Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

5. Takes another step toward government authoritarianism:  From recent discourse on regulating student homes and government’s heavy-handed reaction to Gezi Park protests, to restrictions on freedom of press through owner censorship; such actions represent steps toward authoritarian form of governance.

6. Contradicts the pro-democratic outlook that helped propel AKP to power: While Fethullah Gulen has never endorsed a political party or candidate, within the last two decades a broad spectrum of voters, including Hizmet participants, supported political parties such as AKP that promoted democratic reforms as part of the EU accession process. However, the same democratic values that led Hizmet participants to originally support AKP are now under threat.

Mr. Gulen and Hizmet participants have previously raised concerns about government actions, including around issues such as restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, Turkey’s relationship with Iran and the 2010 Gaza flotilla project.

About Alliance for Shared Values

Alliance for Shared Values is a non-profit organization that serves as a voice for civic organizations affiliated with the Hizmet initiative in the U.S. (also known as Gulen movement). The Alliance serves as a central source of information on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.

Source: Alliance for Shared Values , November 27, 2013


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