President signs education bill


President Abdullah Gul has signed a controversial education bill which will allow so called Imam Hatip religious schools to take in children as young as 10 years old.

The bill had a rocky passage through parliament, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) were always going to win the argument against a smaller opposition led by the secular opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP).

Previously children under 15 had not been allowed into the Islamist schools which were originally opened to train Muslim clerics. The law also raises the compulsory age of education from 8 years to 12 years old.

The law will be seen by secularists in the country, not least the military, as another erosion of the secular nature of the Turkish Republic as it was envisaged by its founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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