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Turkey’s deputy Parliament speaker Sadık Yakut, who is also a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, gave a speech at the 14th National Child Forum. AA photo

Turkey’s deputy Parliament speaker Sadık Yakut, who is also a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, gave a speech at the 14th National Child Forum. AA photo

A senior member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has overtly voiced his objection to mixed-sex education, labeling the implementation of mixed-sex education as “a big mistake” and promising to correct the mistake in the near future.

“Having girls and boys educated at the same schools in the name of a pro-West [approach] is unfortunately a mistake that has been [continually] made from the past up until now,” Sadık Yakut, a deputy parliamentary speaker, said Nov. 20 at a gathering held in Parliament on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.

Boys and girls from 81 provinces of Turkey, who form the Children’s Rights Committee, attended the XIV National Child Forum, which was jointly held by the Family and Social Policies Ministry and the UNICEF Turkey Office.

Yakut’s controversial remarks came during a continuing storm over Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s public objection to co-ed accommodation for university students.

“But when you look at those who come from the West to Turkey to open schools, for example, they are the Galatasaray Boys’ High School, the Italian Girls’ High School and the German Girls’ High School,” Yakut said during a forum which was also attended by Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin.

“They were opening separate schools for female and male students, particularly in Turkey,” Yakut said. “Unfortunately, I maintain that having had female and male students educated together until now has been a big mistake. Inshallah this mistake will be corrected in the upcoming period,” Yakut said without specifying an exact time.

In the first week of November, Erdoğan suggested new regulations could be drawn up to stop male and female students from living together, triggering accusations of religiously inspired interference in private life.

Later, members of the AKP and the Cabinet sought to calm down the impact of Erdoğan’s remarks, which have been widely condemned as part of what is perceived as an increasingly authoritarian style of governance, dominated by his tendency to interfere in people’s lifestyles.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 5 that Erdoğan’s remarks opposing mixed-sex student accommodation actually hinted at his intention to abolish mixed-sex education.

“Male and female students do not even live in the same dormitories, they are already separated. But his [Erdoğan’s] main concern over this issue is not mixed sex dormitories; his real intention is to abolish mixed-sex education,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his address to his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

Yakut took the podium after Şahin made a speech at the same gathering. The education rate among young children in Turkey now stands at 99 percent, Şahin said.

“Those who come from the southeast know very well; the view stemming from rigid traditions and customs features an understanding of not allowing girls to attend university in another province,” said Şahin, a lawmaker for the southeastern Anatolian province of Gaziantep. “But now we have universities in every province.”

Co-education has existed in these lands since the Tanzimat

Co-education in Turkey was implemented during the Tanzimat reform era of the 19th century, particularly in minority and foreign schools. During the Republican era, co-education became “essential” after the adoption of the Law on the Unification of Education in 1924.

The Fundamental Law on Education, dating back to 1973, also described co-education as “essential,” while noting schools for only one gender could still be opened, “according to the type, condition and necessity of the education.”

Yakut a founding AKP member

Yakut, a former judge and prosecutor, is one of the founding members of the ruling AKP. He was elected to the Parliament for the first time in 1999 from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Yakut then crossed to the floor to help found the AKP in time for the 2002 election. He has been elected three times over the ruling party’s term for the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri.

November/20/2013

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Çılgın Kanarya

11/21/2013 8:51:06 PM

By the way NADİRİ, this attitude of 'I'm so full of wisdom, and it's just everybody else who doesn't have the capacity to understand me' approach is getting a bit boring now, so give it up. You are quite clearly devoid of logic outside the world of mathematics. While your calculator adds up, your arguments certainly do not! Your inability to analyse someone's words and deduce the genuine meaning of them, really does cause me to wince at times. In all honesty, I think that you're beyond help.

Çılgın Kanarya

11/21/2013 8:43:27 PM

NADİRİ, nothing in your defence gives any indication that you're understanding this any better. Now take a deep breath & read Yakut's words again, CAREFULLY: “Having girls and boys educated at the same schools in the name of a pro-West [approach] is unfortunately a mistake that has been [continually] made from the past up until now." He is clearly not talking about offering a choice here, as in any case this choice ALREADY EXISTS in Turkey! Just who do you think you're fooling, except yourself?

Brit in Turkey

11/21/2013 6:25:08 PM

Further to my previous note, there were many other secondary schools in London at the time that were co-educational. Incidentally most of the boys at my school were from working class backgrounds which knocks the "elitist" argument flat. One thing that pleases me, and Brits reading this will understand, some years ago when I visited, my old school was still a grammar with for better or worse only boys (who looked a lot scruffier than in my day!).

Nadiri Başaran

11/21/2013 3:48:12 PM

Completely closing mixed-sex schools would be wrong, as I have indicated, shouldn't the state also provide for the needs of those who want single sex education, they too pay taxes and have a voice. Is that clear now? No need to jump to extreme false conclusions then!

Nadiri Başaran

11/21/2013 3:26:34 PM

The prohibited cost of private education cuts both ways. It is a myth that single sex schooling can't prepare you for a normal life. It is the ideologies behind the school that do that, in this we probably agree!

David Cuthell

11/21/2013 3:17:09 PM

One has to pity this poor, dim bulb. Single sex education has a place in education today but that simply doesn't warrant a blanket policy. Margaret Mead had a good formula for single sex education..."when the girls get taller than the boys, keep them separate. When the boys get taller than the girls, return to a single classroom."

Nadiri Başaran

11/21/2013 3:16:54 PM

Those who think that I am against girls being educated have not understood anything I have been saying.

Nadiri Başaran

11/21/2013 3:07:16 PM

My sister went to an all girl school in England, it didn't hinder her in any way. In fact she went on to be a high court jugde in Cyprus and now represents the Turkish government in the European Council.

Nadiri Başaran

11/21/2013 3:04:09 PM

Once again I don't understand how you interpret my comments. Let me make it clear to those who are blinkered: I support mixed-sex education. But it is not a divine right to have it (even in a democracy). If a government debates the issues in parliament and elsewhere, and no one can persuade them (in debate) against it, then irrespective of whether they have a 'majority in elections',(stop using that as a stick) they have every right to pursue their agenda. It's not a denial of education for girl

Red Tail

11/21/2013 1:04:01 PM

This horrible tradition they have in the West that women are allowed to drive, and how it has influenced us, also has to be corrected.
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