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Why Erdogan is unhappy with return of nationalist student oath

After the Turkish judiciary announced it would be bringing back a nationalist school oath done away with in 2013, President Erdogan has seized on the opportunity to benefit him in several political battles.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses teachers and students at Kabatas High School in Istanbul, Turkey September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC15BE5F08A0

Turkey’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, announced Oct. 18 that the student oath will be reinstated at all primary schools. The student oath has been a controversial issue in Turkish politics for decades. In 1933, Minister of Education Resit Galip introduced the oath, which starts by declaring “I am a Turk” and ends with the statement “How proud is the one who can say ‘I am a Turk!’”

In September 2013, right after the Gezi protests and as part of the democratization package, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the “nationalist” oath would be removed. At the time, Erdogan said, “Lining up kids every morning and making them chant slogans from the 1930s, the Cold War and the era of the Iron Curtain is not nationalism.”

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