Education bill threatens to create chaos for Turkey's drivers

Critics of the compulsory education extension argue it will make it even more difficult to obtain a license. (Photo: Mehmet Yaman)

March 01, 2012, Thursday/ 15:26:00

As debate rages over a bill before Parliament that would extend compulsory education from eight years to 12, a new stipulation in Turkey's Highway Traffic Law, which requires drivers to complete “the state-mandated minimum education requirement” before being eligible for a driver's license, has led to speculation that many drivers may soon be barred from driving on Turkey's roads.

The change in the highway law, which seven months ago raised the requisite number of years of education from five to eight to obtain a driver's license, was implemented despite fierce opposition by interest groups who had railed against similar changes proposed to the law three other times in the last four years. Now, interest groups say the extension of minimum compulsory education to 12 years will make it even more difficult for many Turkish drivers to obtain a license.

The chair of the Federation of Driving Instruction, Musa Ayan, who says the new regulation will “open the door” to a flood of illegal licenses and drivers who will neglect the formal application and training process, told Today's Zaman on Wednesday that the laws do not match European driving regulations. “In Germany, Belgium, Norway and elsewhere in Europe, the only things reviewed in a driver's license application are age, health and psychological condition,” he stated. “These are seen as sufficient in Europe.”

Muhammed Bulut, who owns a driving instruction agency in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, said the changes would seriously affect the southeastern provinces, where “standards of education are much lower than in the west.”

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