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Teacher under investigation after student mentions ‘interfaith dialogue’

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An administrative investigation has been launched into the Turkish-language teacher of a student who mentioned “interfaith dialogue” during a speech as part of Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23.

A group of students, mostly primary school pupils, gathered on Sunday for a symbolic cabinet meeting to mark Children’s Day at the Prime Ministry.

“The initiative’s [Alliance of Civilizations (AoC)] visibility has steadily increased, and it has become a prominent project within the context of dialogue among cultures and religions today,” one of the students said in response to a question from the media.

Launched in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Spanish counterpart. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the AoC promised to seek international action against extremism through the forging of international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

However, since the term “interfaith dialogue” is a theme often endorsed by the Gülen movement’s now-moribund cultural activities in and outside Turkey, many pro-government social media users claimed that movement members had infiltrated the April 23 celebration team.

The movement has been suffering from a government witch-hunt over the past four years as scores of people with alleged or real ties to the movement are being imprisoned on a daily basis.

The government also accuses the movement of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt as well.

In the face of an uproar from pro-government circles on social media, the Education Ministry has launched an investigation into the teacher in question.

The teacher said the term and the student’s speech were excerpted from the AoC’s official website. (Turkey Purge)

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