Turkish top court annuls Erdoğan-backed closure of tutoring schools

Turkish top court annuls Erdoğan-backed closure of tutoring schools

Turkish top court annuls Erdoğan-backed closure of tutoring schools Turkey’s Constitutional Court has annulled a law phasing out private tutoring centers, known as dersanes, whose prospective closure had been interpreted as a move against the movement of U.S.-exiled Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Following a petition by the People’s Party (CHP), the court ruled late on July 13 that the law adopted by parliament in March 2014 to close the schools was unconstitutional.

The text passed by the assembly had ordered the closure of the centers by Sept. 1 this year.

Dersanes are very popular in Turkey, with 3,800 of the centers catering to 1.2 million students hoping to win a place in top schools or universities.

Opponents of the law argued that it would exclude the most disadvantaged students from the most sought-after universities and increase the impact of socio-economic differences on the results of entrance examinations.        

Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, had originally included the closure of the centers as part of educational reforms.

However, observers regarded the move as a fresh step in Erdoğan’s fight against Gülen’s movement.

The president accuses Gülen and his movement of being behind corruption allegations that rocked the government in December 2013 while Erdoğan was prime minister and which he has dismissed as a plot by the cleric to unseat him.

Erdoğan has vowed no mercy in the fight against Gülen and the authorities have over the last year effectively purged the police force and judiciary to rid them of pro-Gülenist elements.

In a June ruling, the Constitutional Court had canceled the Directorate of Religious Affairs’ (Diyanet) monopoly on the publishing of the Risale-i Nur, an Islamic book written by Said Nursi from the 1910s to the 1950s that is particularly revered by followers of Gülen.