The new ministers
First and foremost, let me make this clear, the new Education Minister Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk is my hope and happiness in regards to the new administrative system. I will elaborate on that shortly.
Looking at the bigger picture, it seems the basic politics pursued by ministries will remain pretty much the same, considering that the interior minister and the justice minister have kept their seats.
Could there be certain changes to economic policies though?
It is known that since 2011, the former deputy prime minister responsible for the economy, Ali Babacan, and former Economy Minister Mehmet Şimşek have had diverging views with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the prime minister.
Erdoğan’s son-in-law, former Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, who was appointed head of the Treasury, has views parallel to Erdoğan on interest rates.
From this perspective, I do believe economic policies will become clearer.
Education is the one area of governance in which the number of ministers has changed the most over the years, and the one area in which Turkey has failed.
Erdoğan has also admitted to this failure.
In contrast, the miraculous success of Far East economies very much relies on the success of the education there.
Japan, South Korea, China on one side, and even Malaysia, are ahead of us in technology.
According to IndexMundi, a data portal that gathers facts and statistics from multiple sources, including the CIA world fact book, Malaysia is in the ninth spot when it comes to technology exports.
Turkey, on the other hand, sits at 32 on the same list.
There are various reasons for this difference and education is a very critical one.
It is, of course, a promising development that Prof. Selçuk became the minister of education, as he is an academic who has spotted the failure in Turkey’s education system is rooted in an “ideological problem.”
On Aug. 1, 2017, I wrote “Prof. Ziya Selçuk is one of the most valued names in the area of instruction and education.”
I wrote that because Prof. Selçuk was not invited to the National Education Council, where ideology was given more talk time than education.
Here is what Selçuk said some four years ago: “Education is a task of coming to terms. It is a task of finding common ground, and one that needs to be taken on as a requirement for this country. If there is an education bill on the table, it is not up to one party to look into it. It is the entire country’s homework. Upon coming to terms, education becomes a window of opportunity for a country, and when there is a lack of mutual agreement, it becomes a threat.”
Prof. Selçuk was the head of the Instruction and Education Board when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power in the early 2000s.
He then left the task.
‘A logic of uncertainty’
Our biggest mindset problem is that we are thinking in black and white, in a dogmatic, closed-minded sense, according to Prof. Selçuk. We must definitely make room for a “logic of uncertainty,” he argued.
In the same broadcast, Prof. Selçuk said this:
“With us, almost everything is black and white, all or nothing, always or never, love it or leave it. We face the constant pathological dilemma of ‘you are either mine or the grave’s’ and there is no gray area in between, such as ‘how else could it be?’”
“We are not raising standard citizens; we are raising people who seek to standardize others,” he said.
“Everyone fights for their standards based on their own values. We have to make our children think about very different alternatives!”
Do you see how the conditioning we have been brought up with and the ideological molds block our minds from the ability to look into “different options,” or in other words, block any room for uncertainty?