Back on Feb. 1, 2012, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech to his party’s senior members that raised alarm and sparked heated debates over the future of secular education and the secular state in Turkey. Responding to criticism by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Erdogan said: “He says I’m dividing Turkey [into] the devout and the godless. I've never spoken of devout and godless people. I’ve spoken about raising a devout youth. I stand behind this. Mr. Kilicdaroglu, how could you expect us to raise an atheist generation? This could be your own objective, but not ours.”
Not surprisingly, Islamizing the education system would be Erdogan’s first step in “raising a devout generation.” Three years later, the topics of discussion and decisions taken at last week’s meeting of the National Education Council show that the government has, indeed, made significant strides in Islamizing education.