Turkish minorities ask for regulations

Turkish minorities ask for regulations

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish minorities ask for regulations

Children of illegal immigrants can only attend schools under ‘guest’ status.

A series of amendments to regulations concerning private schools that were partly designed to ease problems for minority schools have instead made their predicament more complicated, according to representatives from the educational institutes.

“We are not private schools. We are not receiving any payments from students who attend our schools. We do not bear the status of a ‘kolej’ [private school]. We had requested a separate law for minority schools,” Garo Paylan, an administrator from the Yeşilköy Armenian School in Istanbul, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Regulations concerning private schools in Turkey and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne allow only Turkish citizens to attend minority schools. A clause stipulating that only the children of Turkish citizens can attend their own minority community’s schools, however, was scrapped in new regulations that appeared in the Official Gazette on March 20, leading to perplexity among many educators.

The children of illegal Armenian immigrants still continue attending schools under the status of “guest students,” Paylan said, adding that nothing had changed thus far.

Some 15,000 Armenian citizens are currently residing in Turkey as illegal immigrants, according to data from the Armenian Foreign Ministry. Their children cannot attend minority schools in Turkey both due to their illegal status and the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne.

They were granted the status of “guest students” two years ago, meaning they are permitted to attend the minority schools but cannot receive any diplomas or officially enroll at the education institutions.

Students from Armenia cannot attend Rum (Anatolian Greek) schools in Istanbul because they are illegal immigrants, and the children of Greek citizens cannot attend them because they are not Turkish citizens, Mihail Vasiliadis, the chief editor of Greek-language daily Apoyevmatini, told the Daily News.

“The right to education is enshrined in international treaties. Children’s rights are universal. They ought to be under the protection of states whether they are illegal immigrants or citizens,” Vasiliadis said.

Minorities, ask,