Turkish PM slams opposition over Quran and Hitler

Turkish PM slams opposition over Quran and Hitler

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM slams opposition over Quran and Hitler

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks in a parliamentary group meeting. DAILY NEWS photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the Republican People’s Party (CHP) over its strict opposition to the education bill and likened its worldview with that of Hitler and Mussolini. 

In response to the CHP’s accusations that his rule resembled that of the Nazis, Erdoğan said: “If the CHP chairman is looking for a fellow of Hitler, he should examine the CHP history that he is proud of,” alluding to former CHP leader İsmet İnönü, who was President during the Second World War.

Erdoğan was speaking at his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) weekly parliamentary group meeting. He also displayed two front pages from daily Cumhuriyet, one from 1932 and the other from 1941, which featured stories about Turkey’s good relations at the time with Germany and Italy.

He also recalled a decree signed by İnönü, charging a governmental delegation to visit Germany in 1939 to attend Hitler’s 50th birthday celebrations. 

In further remarks, Erdoğan commended his lawmakers for passing the education bill introducing Quran courses at schools and reopening the secondary level of imam hatip schools. He compared the bill to the restoration of Arabic-language calls to prayer in 1950 by then Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. 

Erdoğan hailed the educational bill for increasing the mandatory educational term from 8 to 12 years with three, separate four-year terms, indicating that the most important mark of the “Feb. 28” process - 8-year uninterrupted education – had been removed with the law. “You have removed the most important, most serious and the last mark of Feb. 28 with the bill you approved on Friday. Democracy and the national will defeated the status-quo,” he said.

“Our people are excited, it is as if they have been reborn. I hope the new generations will be the best example of this excitement.” 

He also responded to Kılıçdaroğlu’s words on the Quran, implying that the CHP leader’s knowledge of religion was not enough to understand it. 

Kılıçdaroğlu on March 30 accused the AKP of covering up $20 billion worth of corruption by using the Quran: “When we raise objections to it, Erdoğan will say that we are against the Quran. We are respectful to Quran. We hang it to the walls with pinked covers. And then we open and read it.”

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, the Quran is not an ornamental object that you keep in pinked covers. It is a source of inspiration. You should check your advisers, you are on the wrong track,” Erdoğan said.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, again called Erdoğan a “religion-monger.” He reiterated accusations that the education law would pave the way for large-scale fraud.

Recalling that a provision in the bill would effectively exempt buying millions of tablet PCs from the Public Tenders Law, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “They used our holy book the Quran as a veil for this fraud. There is moral degeneration, exploitation of religion. Religion cannot be used in marketing. Which religion allows abusing the holy book for corruption?” he said.

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