Turkey’s step on education in mother tongues sets example for Europe: PM Erdoğan
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during the informal meeting of the OECD Education Ministers in Istanbul Oct. 2. AA photo
Reforms that allow students to receive education in their mother tongue in private schools sets an example to follow for European countries, home to a large Turkish migrant community, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. The new policy was unveiled as part of a much-anticipated democratization package announced earlier this week.
“Those people who contribute to the economy of the country they reside in by working and [turn an honest penny] for more than half of a century have become, to a great extent, permanently settled. However, a large part of those [Turkish] citizens have not been granted education in their mother tongue despite their great efforts and demands,” Erdoğan said during the informal meeting of the OECD Education Ministers in Istanbul Oct. 2.
Erdoğan stressed that measures foreseeing the provision of education in one’s mother tongue was included in the European Union acquis.
“So, this right has not been provided to [Turkish citizens] despite this falling within the EU acquis. So, we have made a step that will allow European countries to take an example from Turkey on this matter,” he said.
Although branded as an important step for the resolution in granting cultural rights to Kurds, the reform was described as “falling short” by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
“This is another sort of discrimination. Poor Kurdish families will not be able to enroll their children in these private schools,” BDP’s co-chairwoman Gültan Kışanak said, demanding the measure to also apply to state schools.
Meanwhile, state school students have been able to select a Kurdish language course as an elective subject since September last year. However, schools often lack qualified teaching personnel and the first graduates from Kurdish language institutes are still awaiting their maiden appointments by the Education Ministry as Kurdish teachers.