Turkish schools world’s most global movement, says sociologist

June 10, 2008, Tuesday/ 20:31:00/ FATİH VURAL
World-famous sociologist Nilüfer Göle, known for her studies on modernization and conservatism, said Turkish schools bring people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds together and are the world's most global movement.Göle, who participated in a program on CNN Türk on Sunday, said although one would think that the Gülen movement -- named after Turkish intellectual and preacher Fethullah Gülen, who pioneered the establishment of such schools around the globe -- is a very religious and conservative movement, it is the world's most global initiative. "I visited a Turkish school in Baku. These schools bring people from different nationalities together. Students receive a good English education at these schools," she noted.

Göle also praised Turkish teachers working at these schools. "They head for different countries even though they are unable to even speak their languages. We were not accustomed to such intrepidness," she said.

Stressing that Turkey is going through an intellectual transformation, Göle noted that many conferences and panel discussions bringing intellectuals with differing views together are held in Turkey.

"The Abant Platform is one of them. Intellectuals with different views in Turkey used to not attend the same events in the past. But today we see that leftist and rightist intellectuals sit around the same table. Such things are not to be belittled. Our intellectuals succeeded in overcoming a lack of dialogue," she said.

Göle also praised the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for pursuing a more "European" policy.

"The AK Party managed to transform not only the Islamic movement but also all of Turkey. This is a heavy burden. Yet the ruling party could carry the Islamic movement to the center. The policy it pursued to become a full EU member baffled many. It started negotiating with EU member countries for membership without difficulty. Turkey's conservatives are more extroverted today," she remarked.

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