Turkish PM Davutoğlu says ‘even an atheist should have religious knowledge’
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) speaks during a press conference with Education Minister Nabi Avcı.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that “even an atheist should have religious knowledge,” responding to questions over a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision regarding compulsory religious classes in Turkey.
“It is necessary for an atheist to have knowledge of religious culture, just like I know about Marxism despite not being a Marxist,” Davutoğlu said on Sept. 17 during a visit to the Education Ministry.
He also underlined that the need for formal state religious knowledge is essential in Turkey, stressing that any misinterpretation of religion could lead to radicalization as in neighboring countries.
Davutoğlu also said it is “impossible to understand any social incidents in Turkey, the Middle East and the Balkans without considering the fact of religion.”
In a Sept. 16 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the Turkish education system is “still inadequately equipped to ensure respect for parents’ convictions” and therefore violates the “right to education,” in a case that stemmed from Alevi complaints about mandatory religious classes.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu said the details of the ECHR’s ruling would be evaluated.