Deputies from Turkey's opposition and ruling parties exchanged harsh words and punches in Parliament on Thursday as a parliamentary commission was discussing a bill that increases compulsory education from eight to 12 years.
The brawl erupted after education commission Chairman Nabi Avcı said talks on Article 3 of the bill were completed. Deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) walked towards Avcı and said the talks had not been completed. Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies then responded to CHP deputies, and a dispute erupted among some 30 deputies involving harsh words and punches.
The bill was submitted by AK Party parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Nurettin Canikli late last month.
According to the bill, the current eight years of compulsory education, which includes only a primary school education, will be lengthened by another four years of high school education. The compulsory 12 years of education will be divided into three levels: four years of primary school, four years of middle school and another four years devoted to high school education.
In its current form, primary school is an eight-year, uninterrupted basic education that includes a middle school education, and therefore the need for separate middle schools is eliminated. If the bill becomes law, middle schools will be re-established as a basic primary school education will be separated into two levels.