Opposition parties seek to annul education draft

Opposition parties seek to annul education draft

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Opposition parties seek to annul education draft

AKP rushed the bill through the Education Commission March 11 amid fistfights that erupted after CHP lawmakers found themselves stuck at the door of the tiny room. AA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said the controversial education bill might be put for debate in the General Assembly as soon as next week, as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) asked the Speaker of Parliament to nullify the draft’s controversial approval at the Education Commission.

Senior members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) met with Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek after March 11’s brawl and also insisted the commission vote was “null and void.” MHP group deputy chair Oktay Vural said the commission had to start the debate from the beginning, warning of even worse tensions in Parliament.

AKP deputy chair Mahir Ünal, however, insisted the bill’s approval in the commission was lawful. “The bill will be probably debated in the General Assembly next week,” he said.

However, the AKP’s Mustafa Elitaş said later the AKP might postpone the General Assembly by another week because the Parliament Speaker was evaluating the situation.

AKP rushed the bill through the Education Commission March 11 amid unprecedented fistfights that erupted after CHP lawmakers found themselves stuck at the door of the tiny room, which had been packed in advance with AKP deputies. Commission chairman Nabi Avcı took advantage of the chaos and hastily read out the remaining 20 articles of the draft, which were approved by AKP votes in half an hour.

The CHP discussed the issue yesterday at the party’s central administrative board and decided to ask the Parliamentary Speaker’s office to nullify the commission proceedings.

“If the Parliamentary Speaker has a bit of commitment to democracy, he will consider the commission meeting null and void. Otherwise, I don’t recognize him. I will not attend any meeting chaired by him,” CHP group deputy chair Muharrem İnce said.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) group deputy chair Hasip Kaplan said his party also disapproved of the way the bill was approved at the commission. Brushing aside the opposition objections, AKP group deputy chairman Nurettin Canikli insisted the Parliamentary Speaker had no right to send the bill back to the commission.

Speaking after meeting with Çiçek, Canikli said: “The Parliamentary Speaker is evaluating the issue. But the Parliamentary Speaker has no authority [to return the bill]. A parliamentary commission’s decision can only be examined by the Constitutional Court.”


ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Education Minister Ömer Dinçer signalled yesterday that Quranic studies and the Kurdish language could be introduced as elective courses in Turkey’s secondary schools under the planned education reform.

Brushing aside criticism of the bill, which sparked an unprecedented brawl in Parliament over the weekend, Dinçer said in an interview with the CNN Türk television station that a wide range of elective courses will be made available in secondary schools. Asked whether the list would include courses on the Quran, he said: “There is a widespread demand for religious classes.”

In response to another question about the possibility of Kurdish classes Dinçer said: “If Turkey is democratizing, what’s the problem with Kurdish as an elective course?”

The minister said the details will be finalized by the Education Ministry’s Education and Upbringing Board after the law takes effect. His remarks met with no support from Hasip Kaplan, a leading member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). “Kurdish must be available as a language of education, not as an elective course. This is denial and chauvinism. To make Kurdish an elective course amounts to the denial of Kurdish identity,” Kaplan said.