Turkey’s ruling party striving to abolish secularism, columnist says

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been doing its utmost to undermine secularism in Turkey, columnist Zeynep Oral wrote in secularist opposition daily Cumhuriyet.

Secularism is a core principle of the Turkish Republic, but the AKP government has been trying to abolish it by endorsing religious schools, dorms owned by religious sects and sex-segregated education, while also boosting the amount of religious content in curriculums, Oral said.

"For a long time, especially in education, the AKP government has been fighting to eradicate secularism in every field," the columnist said.

Religious education-focused institutions such as the state-run Imam Hatip schools have increased dramatically under AKP rule, and the government supported an expansion in Islamist foundations in the education sector.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rose to prominence among Turkey’s Islamist political parties, and he has spoken repeatedly of his wish to raise a “pious generation” in the country.

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