Education ministry accused of transferring duties to Erdoğan-linked religious foundation

Turkey’s Ministry of National Education has signed a protocol with the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), allowing it the ability to organise activities in all elementary and secondary schools, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Saturday.

With approval from the ministry’s Religious Education Directorate, TÜGVA, whose High Consultation Committee includes President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan, will be allowed to hold social activities regarding what Turkey calls “values education” in both religious and non-religious schools.

The first activity the foundation has announced after the protocol is a book reading competition for students aged 10 to 13. The students are to participate in groups of five, and will have one adult advisor who is not required to be a teacher, a parent or a guardian. The winning students will receive a prize of 9,000 liras ($ 1,500), while their advisor will receive 5,000 liras ($ 830).

The protocol is possibly in violation of Turkish law, Cumhuriyet reported, citing a previous ruling by Turkey’s State Council that stated public education is an intransferable duty of the state. 

TÜGVA is among several charitable foundations that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been funding, and had received over 74 million liras ($ 12.3 million) from the Istanbul Municipality alone in 2018.
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