Radicalization of Turkey’s schoolbooks shows Erdoğan’s grip on power – The Jerusalem Post

Turkish school textbooks have been steadily inching away from UNESCO standards, dating back to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rise to power in 2003, IMPACT-se, a policy institute that tracks the upholding of UNESCO standards of educational materials, has shown in a new report. Why is this so alarming? “Education is a prime pillar in Erdoğan’s efforts to throw a membrane of sharia over the country,” explained Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The report has found that the Turkish school curricula has radicalized within the time Erdoğan has been in power, close to two decades. Examples include teaching jihad as a normalized, essential value and pushing the glorification of martyrdom in battle. “The task of the Ministry of National Education is to teach every element in the right way,” said Turkish Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz. “The real meaning of jihad is loving our country, homeland and to act accordingly in order to achieve national unity and togetherness.

“Our ministry made a very good decision,” AKP party member Ahmet Hamdi Camli said in support of the government’s decision to place the emphasis on jihad. “If prayers are religion’s tent pole, then jihad is the tent itself.” The AKP, short for AK Parti, or the Justice and Development Party, is headed by Erdoğan. The last IMPACT-se report was in 2016, and educational materials have radicalized since then, the organization’s CEO, Marcus Sheff, noted. “President Erdoğan fired 21,000 teachers and arrested hundreds more after the failed coup of the same year.” IMPACT-se has continuously reported on the presence and encouragement of hate, anti-Israel sentiments, and calls for violence in the textbooks supplied by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Additionally, the curricula presents a bizarre paradox of showing respect for the Hebrew language and the idea of a Jewish civilization, while describing Jews as “infidels” and demonizing Israel. Textbooks describe the Gaza Strip as the “biggest open air prison” in the world, the report shows, emphasizing the victimhood of Palestinians and forging an emotional connection to their cause without providing the full picture. This exists alongside repeated pushes for coexistence between the two national bodies. Another cause for concern is the designation of the Kurdish separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as terrorists. The Kurds in Turkey are an ethnic minority that has been facing religious persecution for years. “School books have been weaponized in Erdoğan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination,” added Sheff. “We note increased demonization of Israel and antisemitic aspersions that must make Turkish-Jewish school students feel unsafe.”

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Radicalization of Turkey’s schoolbooks shows Erdoğan’s grip on power – The Jerusalem Post

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