Pozantı education system
Often, like the mainstream media of many other countries, national newspapers and major TV stations get so bogged down in pity domestic political discussions that they tend to ignore what appears to be “itchy detail” or news of only “local importance.”
Issues that appear to be dominant discussion subjects or national worries for some time just disappear from public attention once the government or local authorities manage to contain and remove it from the focus of the public using a variety of means. How many stories were published since Parliament legislated that amnesty-like special law providing decreased or even no penalties for “kids pushed to crime” or “stone-throwing kids?”
Last week, a report written by Özlem Ağuş, a young colleague working for the Dicle (Tigris) news agency considered by the Turkish state and government as a propaganda machine of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang, brought back to the national agenda the issue of the stone-throwing kids, this time not as kids exploited by the PKK but as kids raped and harassed at the Pozantı correction center.
Irrespective of who says what or how the government evaluates the Dicle news agency, that young colleague achieved journalistic success with that report and thus deserves a standing ovation. Whether or not she is considered a journalist by Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ministers, and irrespective of whether we may or may not have sympathy for her worldview, that young woman is not just a journalist, she is a successful journalist. With almost 110 journalists imprisoned even as the government categorically rejects that even one journalist has been imprisoned in the country because of his/her journalistic activity, the prime minister naturally cannot be the authority to decide who is a journalist and who is not.
Yesterday, there was a new operation on the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) that mostly centered on the Mediterranean province of Adana; along with Özlem Ağuş, scores of journalists, rights advocates and local executives of the pro-PKK Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were detained. Thus, Ağus – and the entire Adana office of the Dicle news agency – were rewarded with detention for their journalistic success in lifting the veil on the rampant rape and torture of all sorts at the Pozantı correction center.
While police were preparing to unleash that latest round of the KCK operation in Adana, the government in Ankara was denying all opposition protests against a draft at Parliament that would lower the schooling age to 5, abandon the uninterrupted compulsory eight years of primary education and replace it with a 4+4+4 system that will provide not only an interrupted education system but also lift the attendance requirement after the first four years and thus help rehash the primary sections of the theology schools, or imam-hatips.
What is worse, the physical rape of kids at a state-run correction center or the mental rape of kids through an education system that would encourage the de-schooling of girls, help revive the primary sections of imam-hatips and help the prime minister and his party raise conservative and rancorous new generations?