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Erdogan's silent revolution seeks more than pious youth

A recent report claims Turkey’s education system has become increasingly Islamist, with curriculum focusing on Islamic concepts at the expense of science and secularism. Yet it remains to be seen how effective this push will be.
Pupils wearing protective facemasks listen to a teacher in a classroom of a school in Ankara on March 2, 2021, after the country lifted restrictions measures against the Covid-19 pandemic in regions with lower infection rates.

Turkish exceptionalism in the Middle East when it comes to secular education is over. Although Turkish textbooks had problems in the past of omitting embarrassing moments in history, never before have K-12 public school students been taught to feel obliged to see jihad as a responsibility of every good Muslim.

In March, the research institute IMPACT-se published a study of 28 new Turkish textbooks that revealed anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, Turkish ultra-nationalism as well as sympathy for causes of jihadist movements are now routinely encouraged. Non-Muslims are regularly referred to as "infidels” in textbooks. And the concept of jihad is seen as a key term, researchers found, that has been set at the foundation of the new curriculum. IMPACT-se, based in Jerusalem, describes itself as “a research, policy and advocacy organization that monitors and analyses education across the world.”

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