Turkish PM aims to end mixed sex education: Main opposition leader

Turkish PM aims to end mixed sex education: Main opposition leader

Turkish PM aims to end mixed sex education: Main opposition leader

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks at his party’s group meeting. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's latest remarks opposing mixed-sex student accommodation actually hint toward his intention to abolish mixed-sex education, according to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

“Male and female students do not even live in the same dormitories, they are already separated. But his [Erdoğan’s] main concern over this issue is not mixed sex dormitories; his real intention is to abolish mixed-sex education,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 5 in his address to his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

He was commenting on Erdoğan’s recent remarks that triggered a strong public reaction, in which the prime minister condemned the practice of female and male students living under one roof, describing it as “against our conservative democratic character” and vowing to take measures.

Kılıçdaroğlu accused Erdoğan of “misinforming” people about student dormitories, stressing that male and female students were already not accommodated in the same buildings in any state dormitories. 

“If the number of dormitories is not sufficient, then who’s responsible for that? The Housing Development Administration of Turkey [TOKİ] is building lots and lots of Soviet-style apartments, why does it not build dormitories?” he said.

The CHP leader devoted almost his whole speech to women’s freedoms, stressing the various times that he said his party had defended the equality of women and men, in contrast to Erdoğan, who he once again labeled as “dictator.”

“Violence against women increased 1400 percent over the past 10 years. Who is responsible for this? If we ask the dictator, it’s the responsibility of the CHP. But the CHP wholeheartedly believes in the equality of women and men,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) aims to “decrease women’s participation in social life,” according to the CHP head. “They have revoked women’s rights step by step. Women should liberate themselves from a mentality that aims to lock them in the house,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu added that women who previously voted for the AKP should resist the government’s interventions into their lifestyles.

“[They are talking about] what women should wear. But it’s none of their business. Women should realize that if democracy regresses, women will pay the highest price,” he said.