CHP candidate İnce pledges to end compulsory religious courses
Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has pledged to end compulsory religious courses and continue to offer elective religious courses in public schools.
“In Turkey there are conservative people who say ‘two hours of religious courses are not enough for my child.’ In that case, the state will provide the [additional religious] courses that they want,” he added.
“Meanwhile, for those who don’t want them there will be no religious courses,” İnce added, speaking in CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s home province, which is the only province in Turkey with an Alevi majority population.
The Alevi community in Turkey has been fighting against the compulsory religious courses for years, arguing that the “Religious Culture and Morals” classes only benefit the country’s Sunni majority. There are also elective courses on the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in more than one case that the compulsory religious courses must be abolished.
“The state will have no business if a candidate is Alevi or Sunni, Turkish or Kurdish,” he said.
“We will end all kinds of discrimination. There will be no discrimination whether one is wearing headscarf or not, whether one is a woman or a man,” he added.
İnce also referred to his two previous bids to replace Kılıçdaroğlu as CHP leader.
“I stood against your fellow Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and I failed. But today I am a presidential candidate. Erdoğan cannot understand our relationship,” he said.