SEVGİ AKARÇEŞME, İSTANBUL Representatives of foreign media outlets in İstanbul had a difficult time on Tuesday understanding the rationale behind the government’s decision to close private prep schools across Turkey. The Journalists’ and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Medialog Platform’s 26th meeting of the “Covering Turkey” seminar series held in İstanbul on Tuesday addressed a highly debated […]
Both the government and the Gülen movement have raised the stakes in the debate over a plan to regulate private prep schools, or dershanes. The tension recently peaked, with Erdoğan describing the group’s objection to his government’s plans as a “smear campaign.” Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of daily Zaman, which is known for its close ties with the Gülen movement, wrote an open letter to Erdoğan and urged him to review his decision.
Former national team captain and current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Hakan Şükür, referring to the government’s plan to shut down prep schools, has said it was wrong to vote “yes” on their closure before a process is carried out which eliminates the need for the schools.
Zaman columnist Ali Ünal expresses how prep schools by the Hizmet movement were established under difficult circumstances under the leadership of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Preps schools prevent students from falling into bad habits by giving them both life and schools lesson at the same time at reasonable prices, writes Ünal.
On Wednesday, for instance, Erdoğan described members of the Hizmet movement, who are mostly inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, as an “opposing side” due to their opposition to the closure of prep schools. Erdoğan’s categorization sparked outrage, primarily because the movement has been known as staunch supporters of the government.
When it is necessary, making objections demonstrates honesty; approving everything is an indication of hypocrisy. So if all these people are saying that this is wrong, listening to them is not a weakness but a virtue. This is what the nation expects from you. Otherwise, it will take forever to heal the wounds that have been inflicted in their hearts. So is it worth it?
For the first time in the 11-year reign of the AK Party, I was truly concerned when Erdoğan last week said that the decision to shut down private prep schools was finalized despite heavy resistance from a significant portion of society. A government that could consider interfering with “freedom of enterprise” is grim enough.
It is very likely that the real purpose of the government is indeed to punish the Gülen movement. Many political observers disagree with such a claim however, AKP officials have not find any convincing argument that will convince conservative people that the government is not punishing the Gülen movement, a movement that has touched many lives among the conservative people in the heartland of Anatolia.
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 […]
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.
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?
It turned out that I was overly optimistic, for I did not want to believe that a prime minister who bravely fought the old, authoritarian establishment in the people’s name for years could have changed so much, adopting just the same behavior we were subjected to in the past. I had thought that those bitter experiences were only a distant memory. Unfortunately, I was wrong — terribly so.
The Prime Minister Erdoğanis talking about closing the prep schools in which students enroll to get additional education and be more successful on university entrance examinations.His whole argument to close these institutions is just a blur of some basic facts. Everyone knows that Erdoğan is taking these steps for a single purpose: He wants to punish the Gülen movement.