Turkish oppositon questions prep school motive
CİHAN photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has bashed government plans over closure of private examination prep schools, claiming that such move would lead to unregistered private education.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also maintained the important and prior point regarding the issue was eliminating the need for prep schools entirely.
“Parents feel obliged to send their children to private examination prep schools. What will happen if they are closed? There will be unregistered private education. The wealthy will hire tutors, but what will middle and low income families do? This system cannot be changed unless the education system that influences students to go to prep schools is changed,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his address to his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 19.
Kılıçdaroğlu was commenting on the ongoing debate over the Turkish government’s move to shut down private prep schools, which sparked wide and harsh reaction from Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s followers, since hundreds of prep schools across the country are known for their links with the Gülen movement.
Criticizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by using a strong language, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Who are you? You can assume yourself as the king of your home, but you’re not the king of this country. Why can you make a decision over this issue by yourself? From where do you get the authority for such move? If you close the prep schools, you first have to discuss the issue in detail with pedagogues and experts on education.”
Recalling that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power since 2002, Bahçeli questioned the timing of the recent move and indicated that it was part of a political fight between the government and the Gülen movement.
“Is the decision to close down prep schools a settling of scores regarding a political fight, which firmly rose to the surface, or is it a matter of yesterday’s alliances; is it a result of an ongoing veiled challenge or a result of a real need? What is the main motive that prompted Prime Minister Erdoğan to this decision?” Bahçeli said on Nov. 19, underlining he does not believe in the government’s good-intentions on the issue.
Erdoğan, meanwhile, declined to comment on the controversy, despite questions from reporters. He, however, noted that he will deliver detailed remarks on the issue in a joint interview with ATV channel and A Haber, private news channel tonight.
Education Minister Nabi Avcı, for his part, also refrained to elaborate on the government’s plan, recalling Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made detailed statements over the issue.
The government will reevaluate its work on the controversial closure of private examination prep schools together with the related parties, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on Nov. 18 after a Cabinet meeting.