Turkish News Folder, 13 March 2012

Ground Breaking Promises from CHP Leader Kilicdaroglu

CHP chairman Kilicdaroglu made historic statements during his interview with veteran broadcaster Ali Kirca in Sky Türk 360 channel. He started by commenting on intra-party politics. After the two extraordinary conventions, CHP became a party that people trust commented chairman Kilicdaroglu. With the conventions, intra-party democracy has been established and firmly enshrined in the new by-laws.

He added that the new bylaws opened the way for women to seek elected office without prejudice or hindrance, and allowed the constituency to reflect its will freely to the administration of the party.

Social democracy is not as old inTurkeyas it is in the West, but “The identity of the new CHP is one of a universally accepted social democratic party” he proclaimed.

Kilicdaroglu admitted that there is some truth to the accusations of CHP formerly defending the status quo. He promised that the new CHP has transformed itself into a force that seeks solutions to problems with constructive proposals. He added that from now on the party’s republican and revolutionary heritage adopted during the War of Independence will be harnessed to turn it into a champion of progress.

COMMENTS ON 4+4+4 “EDUCATION REFORM”

Kilicdaroglu continued to break with CHP’s alleged “tradition” by stating that it has no prejudices against imam hatips (clerical schools), he said that the party respects imam hatips, reminding all that it was CHP that first opened these.  He adds that if parents wish their children to receive a religious education, this must be respected.

He added that mandatory Religion and Ethics courses must include chapters on the Alevite faith, emphasizing once again that CHP advanced a motion in the parliament for Alevite houses of warship to be recognized as such (granted official status).

Kilicdaroglu lent his support to Turkey’s controversial Directorate of Religious Affairs, calling it necessary to provide faith-based services to the citizenry, but it must be reorganized to live up to the expectations of the Alevite citizens.

He stressed that CHP fully supports a new constitution which recognizes all ethnic backgrounds, beliefs and freedoms, but warned that the new constitution must be free of”ethnic references”. He said “Citizen of theRepublicofTurkey” must be the common denominator in the new document.

TERROR AND THE KURDISH PROBLEM

Kilicdaroglu put CHP’s mark on the current political debate by his imaginative and feasible suggestions on terror and the Kurdish problem. On terror, he repeated the two previous recommendations made to the Grand Assembly. First, a reconciliation commission must be formed under the aegis of the parliament, to consist of academics and opinion leaders.  Secondly, all talks with entities related to terror must take place through this commission, rather than the clandestine channels that the AKP administration had used in the past.  He added that AKP steadfastly rejected these offers.

Ali Kırca than asked Kilicdaroglu “how much risk would you take to solve the Kurdish problem?” Kilicdaroglu’s answer was astonishing and definitive:  “I’ll take whatever risk it takes.  If the welfare of this nation requires for me to sacrifice my political career, so be it. As long as it serves the furtherance of our welfare and unity and solidarity is preserved. We must work to spread peace through this geography. Conflicts in our neighborhood are not befitting our vision of the 21st Century Turkey. The political establishment of Turkeymust be by now ready to end this problem. If it is not, it should not be in the administration. Those who die are our people; those who bleed are our people. We shall without compromise or hesitation defend the lives of our people.  Only than can we lay claim to being a regional power[1].


EDUCATION:  CHP’s Counterproposal 1+8+4

CHP deputy chairman and head of the party’s Science, Management and Culture Platform Prof Dr Sencer Ayata evaluated the new education reform proposal to daily VATAN.

As someone who has dedicated his career to academia, do you agree with the view that “the two stage secondary school is scientifically proven superior?”

-The world is moving in the opposite direction. The new proposal is not implemented anywhere in the developed world. The world standard is rather 10 years of compulsory education. What do we understand from “two stages?”  Does it mean to separate students by age in each stage, or does it mean different curricula? Let’s cut through the word play, this is really the key question. We need to focus not on age but the essence of the courses. In AKP’s proposal, basic education is cut to 4 years. Than, AKP would institute technical training and separate curricula. This is the objective.   To have two separate curricula for after the 4th grade.

Yet it is argued that all advanced systems make use of the two stages and this is why we should adopt it as well?

-Yes, AKP’s draft law lists several examples. Yes there is stage wise education. But the staging is done according to age, not to curricula.  Let’s take a closer look atUSA, which is cited as an example. The first stage (primary school) is 6 years. But there is no technical training even in secondary school in theUSA.  It starts in college. Also inU.K.,NorwayandFinland, other examples mentioned in the draft bill, technical training starts after secondary school. InSouth Koreathere is only one stage, compulsory and unified, 9 years.

-Germany is the most frequently cited country?

GermanyandAustriaplay a prominent role in the draft, yes. But, Germans are no longer happy with technical training in early ages. There are severe criticisms levied against the system. They are constantly debating this, because what was one of the pillars of past German success has become a burden. The system imposes a deep and unfair class dived on the society. It is unfair to force 10 year olds into a particular career track, it creates a cast system. Turkish citizens inGermanycomplain that their second class status is being reinforced by this system that most frequently guides their children into technical training.  The institution can no longer train the qualified personnel that had become the hallmark of theGermany. Some sates have already reformed the system.

We need to see the truth: Those countries that excel in education turned to longer, single stage schooling.Finland,Denmark,Australia, New Zeeland are the leading examples of the new thinking. In contrast German is sinking fast in European rankings.

-What is CHP’s counterproposal to 4+4+4?

The world is rapidly abandoning the idea of guiding children in a young age to technical training. The new fashion is at least 9 nine years of compulsory basic education in arts and sciences. Why is that? Unless we understand in which direction the advanced world is moving we will commit costly mistakes. Staging must be undertaken after careful and exhaustive pedagogical studies. We recommend one year of pre-school education, provided by the state.  The compulsory education must be made longer. Only in senior high school (last 4 years) can children be separated into “academic track” and “career-technical training”.

Moreover in our surveys, at least 40% of the society and a majority of the AKP voters believe that technical training should be delayed to the college. In specific, our proposal is one year pre-school training, 8 year single stage compulsory and 4 years of senior high school with two separate tracks.  In other words 1+8+4.

The objective should be to end half-day schooling.  Multi-year classes should be end as well. Parents’ contribution to school budgets must be abolished.  Parity in terms of physical facilities and equipment between all schools must be achieved. We fully support enhancing the technological infrastructure of the schools. Schools must have play grounds, parks, sports facilities. Let’s hear our chairman Kilicdaroglu:  “Education should not be a battleground for politics.  We must insulate education from political infighting, ideological priors and vote calculations[2].

About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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