Education body denies it sought to lift 'Atatürk's principles' from curriculum
Turkey's Higher Education Body (YÖK) has denied reports that it was preparing to remove classes that taught "Atatürk's principles and the history of the revolution" today.
Tuğba Tekerek of daily Taraf had reported that YÖK was considering the removal of the said classes, citing YÖK Chairman Gökhan Çetinsaya as source.
YÖK denied the claims today, saying no interview had taken place between Çetinsaya and Tekerek. "Çetinsaya did not talk to the said reporter or any other journalist about the matter," a statement from YÖK said.
Taraf had reported that Çetinsaya said the education body was discussing the removal of the classes as part of an amendment to the higher education law. "[The removal of the classes] is on the board's agenda," Çetinsaya was quoted by daily Taraf.
"Atatürk's principles and the history of the revolution" is a mandatory course for university students in Turkey, along with "Turkish language and literature" classes. Lessons on "Atatürk's principals" were based on the 1981 Higher Education Law, which stated the purpose of higher education as "training students who are devoted to 'Atatürk nationalism' as directed by Atatürk's revolutions and principles."
Professor Halil Berktay from Sabancı University was also quoted by daily Taraf as he said that the removal of the class would be a good thing as "there cannot be a lesson called 'Atatürk's principals.’ Not in primary school, middle school, or in university."
The classes were added to the curriculum after the Sept. 12, 1980, coup with the enactment of the higher education law in 1981.