The educational CV of an assassin
Let’s go back to the night Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov became a victim of a dark assassination.
President Recep Tayip Erdoğan gave his first statement a couple of hours later.
He underlined specifically which schools the assassin went to. He said, “The murderer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş is a graduate of Söke Cumhuriyet [Republic] Anadolu [Anatolian] High School. He then graduated from a police vocational school.”
Why did he feel the need to do so? Because the assassin wanted to look like an al-Nusra sympathizer. He wanted to create the perception that he committed the murder for religious motivations.
It is obvious that Erdoğan revealed immediately the fact that the terrorist received a secular education and studied in a police school to break this misleading perception.
The fact that he was a graduate of a Republican Anatolia High School showed he received a secular education. The fact that he then went to a police vocational school created the impression that he was from the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and consolidated suspicions about his roots.
Erdoğan seemed to say, “He neither went to imam hatips [religious vocational schools] nor did he study theology. Don’t be fooled by his camouflage.” In other words, he is not like the person he wants to showcase. The fact that he was not from an imam hatip made it easier to unmask him.
But was if it had been the opposite? Then would we have concluded that the terrorist is from al-Nusra and that the imam hatips and theology faculties are nests of terror?
The curriculum debate
A few days after the assassination, theologian Mustafa İslamoğlu posted a tweet. “As long as the curriculum of imam hatips and theology faculties are not changed, future members of ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] will continue to be raised in this country.”
This tweet ignited a heated debate that continued for days. He is being accused of portraying the imam hatips and theology faculties as nests of terror.
He clarified his words and said he was trying to highlight the curriculum in these schools.
“Unless we solve the mentality of terror under the guise of religion, there will be many more DAEŞ [the Arabic acronym for ISIL]. Aren’t we going to question how this organization finds a support base?” he said.
But he could not calm the resentment. He is being criticized for compromising imam hatips and theology faculties.
I can understand why President Erdoğan wanted to underline the schools to which the assassin went to. He did it to prevent a perception operation. In the murderer’s dossier, there was information that will help give an idea about this profile; he shared it immediately. And that helped the photograph become clearer faster.
His intention was not to say assassins cannot come from imam hatips or theology faculties, they can come from normal high schools or other normal universities.
I can also understand the responds to İslamoğlu’s criticisms on the curriculum. On the contrary I even see benefit in the discussions.
But I don’t understand why the reaction shown to him has come to blindly defend the imam hatips.
God Forbid. What happens if terror organizations hired a hitman who graduated from imam hatips and theology faculties? Are we going to say, “You cannot make me say a terrorist comes out of these schools?”