Proceedings of the 19th International Academic Conference, Florence

RELIGION, POLITICS AND EDUCATION IN THE LIGHT OF FEBRUARY 28 DECISIONS IN TURKEY

RUKIYE SAYGILI, HÜLYA EŞKI UĞUZ

Abstract:

The decisions known as “February 28 Decisions” in Turkish political life consist of the “measures required to be taken against the reactionary initiatives opponent to the regime” comprising 18 articles, which were taken at the National Security Council that lasted for 9 hours in the period of the 54th Government formed between Refah (Welfare) Party and Doğru Yol (True Path) Party within the framework of the Coalition Government Protocol dated 28 June 1996 and chaired by Necmettin Erbakan. Five of those decisions aimed at preventing politicization of the religion directly involved the education policy. Though the government programmes decisively expressed that no compromise would be made on the education policies that were rearranged in line with the said decisions by the 55th, 56th and 57th Governments formed following the February 28 Decisions, it did not take long for the decisions, which could not gain public legitimacy, to begin to be questioned. As a matter of fact, one of the most remarkable actions of AK (Justice and Development) Party, which came to power in 2002 by taking strength from the reaction shown against the decisions following the February 28, designated as post-modern coup d’etat, has been to cease the education policies put into practice in line with the National Security Council decisions. Elimination of the field coefficient problem took place in 2009; opening the secondary school sections of the religious vocational high schools as a result of increasing the duration of compulsory education to 12 years with the formula 4+4+4 took place in 2012; ensuring dress freedom at schools took place defacto in 2010 and dejure in 2013. In view of the foregoing, this paper will try to address and study the relationship between education, religion and politics, which has been an ongoing area of debate from foundation of the Republic to present, particularly in the light of the February 28 Decisions. It should be noted that an analysis to be conducted in this respect by centering upon the concepts of education, religion and politics targets at the same time to shed light on the fact of “retreat of the military tutelage” in Turkey.

Keywords: Religion, Politics, Education, 28 Febuarty Decisions, Turkey

DOI: 10.20472/IAC.2015.019.121

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