‘Reactionaryism threat’ to be removed from textbooks

January 26, 2012, Thursday/ 17:20:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Reactionaryism, which was included in a list of threats faced by Turkey during the Feb. 28 military intervention process in 1997, will be taken out of Turkish textbooks, Education Minister Ömer Dinçer announced on Wednesday.

“The Turkish education system will have a rational basis, not an ideological one. Issues such as reactionaryism which were included in course books in 1998 will be taken out,” said Dinçer.

In Turkey reactionaryism, or religious fundamentalism, has often been used by the military as an excuse to meddle in politics. In addition, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) faced a party closure case in 2008 over charges of being a focal point of reactionaryism.

The minister said the last traces of the Feb. 28 intervention, when the military ousted a coalition government led by a conservative party, will be removed from the education system.

Dinçer’s statement comes on the heels of an announcement made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this week, who said the government decided to abolish controversial national security courses given at schools, which have long been criticized for breeding an ideology of militarism in the public by indoctrinating them with the belief that there is a constant threat against the country.

The national security course, the aim of which is “to strengthen the national security consciousness, which naturally exists in all Turkish youth, in accordance with demands of war to honor and protect the Turkish Republic against all kinds of attacks under all circumstances” as it is officially defined, was found to be among the most problematic elements in the Turkish school curriculum. National security lessons are given by military officers who come to classrooms in military uniforms and treat students as though they are soldiers, giving them a military salute and the like.

The minister also said on Wednesday that the abolishment of the national security courses had been discussed with the General Staff, which voiced no objection to the move. He also noted that 9,300 military officers were teaching national security courses at schools and that some topics of these courses will be taught by civilian teachers from now on in other courses.

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