The deputy principal of Turkey’s oldest secular high school, Kabataş Erkek Lisesi, suggested on Tuesday that all schools in Turkey should become imam-hatips, schools with a semi-religious curriculum.
According to a story in the Birgün daily, Şakir Voyvot, the deputy principal of Kabataş High School, which has a staunchly Kemalist tradition, was recorded while speaking at an event. “It is time that all our secondary schools are turned into imam-hatip high schools,” he said in a video published by Birgun.
The nature of education in Turkey has always sparked debate, especially after the rise to power of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). Co-founder of the AKP and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan often refers to raising a “religious generation,” which sets off secularist alarm bells in the country.
There has been a significant rise in the number of imam-hatip schools in Turkey during the AKP government’s tenure. After confiscating Gülen-inspired schools, which do not have a religious curriculum, the government turned some of these schools into religious institutions as well.