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A new article by the BBC has shown that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the governing AK party are trying to move the country away from its founding values, and make society more Islamic and conservative.

Mr Erdogan has repeatedly expressed his ambition to raise pious generations that follow the doctrine of Islam.

Removing Darwin

The education minister commented on the removal of all reference to evolution within high school classes.

“We only say this: Let’s not teach this subject at this level, but delay it to undergraduate study,” he added.

But critics have argued that the initial chapter on the origins of man has been excluded from the curriculum. Excluding that, but retaining further concepts from the evolution theory, is unhelpful, they say.

The Head of Egitim-Is, one of the biggest teachers’ unions in Turkey, says the most crucial chapter in the theory of evolution has been dropped. Adding that by removing details regarding evolution at the undergraduate level, they are in turn drastically limiting the capacity of their academic institutions.

‘Normalising jihad in schools’

The head of Egitim-Is also criticised the introduction of the concept of jihad in secondary school education.

“Ask anyone coming out of a mosque today what he understands by the word jihad – 99% would say that they see jihad as the main reason for war in the Middle East. We will not let the government put a spin on the word and normalise the concept of jihad,” he said.

According to the dictionary of the Institute of Turkish Language, jihad is an Arabic word meaning “a religious war”.

Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz argued that the word was

misinterpreted and what it actually meant was to serve the community, to increase welfare, to secure peace and understanding of one another.

Institutionalization of Islam

Many have argued that the new curriculum is largely ideological and aimed to cement President Erdogan’s control over the state by imposing Muslim values on the more educated society.
“This curriculum is a coup d’etat targeting education in Turkey. You don’t have to have guns to make a coup. If you strike a country’s education.
This move is not new, but rather another in a chain aimed to directly move power from the people into the role of the presidency. The President was largely emboldened due to a coup attempt last year by the Gulenist movement. This coup has opened the pro-Islam President to push the middle easts most free state into becoming one of the most dictatorial in only a matter of years.

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