School and Education in Turkey

In his work to secularize the school system and give it a western feel, Kemal Atatürk closed all religious schools. All educational institutions now belong to the Ministry of Education and are open to both genders.

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It is 8 years compulsory and free primary school from the children is 6 years. There are also free 3- and 4-year high schools, divided into general, vocational and technical schools. English is the first foreign language in the school. There is a shortage of school buildings, and especially in the cities it is taught in shifts. A state exam must be passed before you can begin higher education. In 2002, there were 53 state and 23 private universities. The oldest, the University of Istanbul, was founded in 1453. According to UNESCO (2002), it is estimated that approx. 14% of the adult population being illiterate.

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In 1992, the Council of Europe forced the government to reduce the repression of the Kurdish people. The Turkish authorities agreed to release 5,000 political prisoners and allowed the publication of two Kurdish-language newspapers. In November, the EU set 1996 as the deadline for Turkey’s accession to the customs union, which should be the first step towards full accession to the Union.

In April 1993, President Turgut Özal died and Prime Minister Demirel was elected as his successor. Tansu Ciller, who had been Finance Minister, now took over the leadership of the DYP and was named the country’s first female prime minister. Her government program was approved by Parliament in July. It included an accelerated wave of privatization, judicial reform and a halt to public investment to reduce the $ 9.4 billion budget deficit. In the same month, public servants conducted a two-day strike and demonstrations in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir in protest of the mass fires set up by the privatization program. About 700,000 workers took part in the protests.

Turkey Country Flag

Turkey flag source:

The PKK now declared unilateral ceasefire, and offered to abandon the demand for the formation of an independent Kurdish state, in return for initiating formal negotiations with the government. However, the offers did not go anywhere, and after several excursions by the government, the PKK declared “total war” against Ankara at the end of May, initiating a series of actions in European cities. Especially in Germany which provided considerable military assistance to Turkey. See for all countries starting with T.

The Turkish army expanded its offenses through 1994, forcing residents of hundreds of Kurdish villages to leave their homes and bombing Iraqi Kurdistan to destroy the PKK’s bases.

The increasing Islamization of Turkey became evident through 1995 up to the December elections. The movement’s main representative was the Welfare Party, which during the election campaign promised to form Islamic organizations to curb the influence of NATO and the EU. The election made it the country’s largest party with 158 of Parliament’s 550 seats.

The DYP led by Prime Minister Ciller and the Center-Right Motherland Party (ANAP) overcame their contradictions to prevent Islamists from coming to power, and unexpectedly formed a government coalition led by ANAP’s Mesut Yilmaz. It was deployed in March 1996, but the alliance quickly collapsed and the DYP instead decided to reign with the Islamists after Necmettin Erbakan was appointed head of government in June.

In April, the country signed a military agreement with Israel, worsening its relations with a number of Arab countries – especially Syria. Tensions increased further on April 24, when, for “technical reasons,” Ankara temporarily decided to cut off the water through Turkey’s controversial dams over the Euphrates River. It forced the Syrian authorities to ration the water in Damascus just days before the Muslim feast, Aïd el Adha.

1997 was marked by still confrontation between the government of Erbakan and the worldly opposition supported by the armed forces. The military’s leadership presented evidence linking the Welfare Party with Islamic organizations declared illegal by the previous government and working underground. At the same time, the military claimed that they were more dangerous than the separatist Kurds in the PKK. The president therefore decided in June to remove Erbakan from power. Instead, Mesut Yilmaz was deployed to the post of prime minister. At the same time, the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, accused Erbakan of bringing the country “on the brink of civil war and conspiring against its secular constitution”. By extension, the Welfare Party was banned.

The Turkish Human Rights Organization – as per Some observers have relations with separate Kurds – that by 1997 114 detainees in police custody had died, 366 had been tortured and 66 had disappeared.

Relations with the EU

Turkey was an associate member of the EC from 1964, suspended from 1980-86, and in 1987 Turkey applied for full membership. In 1996, a customs union was entered into between Turkey and the EU. It took more than 30 years to establish this union, which removes tariffs on most Turkish export products.

However, Turkey was left out of the membership negotiations in the early 1990s and felt particularly oblivious when the EU in 1998 opened membership negotiations with a number of countries, including Cyprus. There were several reasons for the passing: the country’s economic situation, violation of human rights in Turkey, resistance from Greece and a general skepticism of the country’s size. At the same time, Turkey has strived to meet the EU’s political requirements, including human rights.

Only in December 2004, after intense negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders agreed to open membership negotiations with Turkey in October 2005. The negotiations started with an emergency scream on schedule, and again after intense diplomatic activity. The EU demanded that Turkey recognize Cyprus before membership negotiations began. Turkey rejected this, pointing out that the decision to open negotiations did not contain such conditions. In addition, Austria proposed that the negotiations had to include opportunities for an outcome other than full membership (so-called “privileged partnership”), which Turkey also rejected. Austria eventually had to withdraw the proposal, and the negotiations started – in principle as planned, but in reality with great controversy both between Turkey and the EU and within the EU. The negotiations are expected to take at least ten years.

The opposition to getting Muslim Turkey (which will be the EU’s largest country) as an EU member is great in the member states, and many believe that this was the real reason why France and the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution in the 2005 referendums. of the limitations of the Nice Agreement, which deals with the EU’s “absorptive capacity”, Turkey is dependent on a new EU constitution (which will replace the Nice Treaty) before it can become a member.

A prerequisite for Turkish membership is also a solution to the Cyprus conflict. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the breakaway republic of Northern Cyprus, and Cyprus – as a new EU country from 2004 – can veto Turkish membership. The EU also considers the northern part occupied by Turkey, and Turkey will thus be disqualified for membership.