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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-06-26

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>



  • [01] Turkes: The Crans Montana Conference is held forcibly by the UN
  • [02] Akinci is satisfied with his contacts in Turkey
  • [03] Akinci and his team is leaving today for the Crans Montana meeting
  • [04] Akinci argued that the Cyprus talks have reached their final stage
  • [05] Erdogan and Akinci have reportedly decided not giving concessions on the security and guarantees
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot expats from the UK prefer to travel to Cyprus via the ports of the Republic of Cyprus instead of the illegal Tymbou airport
  • [07] Columnist describes how the "TRNC citizenship" can be "transferred" to various persons through marriage
  • [08] More about FETO links in the occupation regime
  • [09] Erdogan praised TurkStream project
  • [10] Erdogan backs Qatar's response to list of demands by Gulf States
  • [11] Turkey's MFA: Turkish troops in Qatar are 'not against any country'
  • [12] Erdogan said he is well after suffering health problem during Eid prayers
  • [13] Commentary: "What is the value of a human life?"
  • [14] Police detained 44 people at Istanbul's banned LGBT Pride march
  • [15] Berberoglu's lawyers appeal to top court over imprisonment decision
  • [16] Latest draft of Turkey's new national curriculum 'excludes evolution theory'


    [01] Turkes: The Crans Montana Conference is held forcibly by the UN

    Under the title "The Cyprus Conference is held forcibly by the UN", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.06.17) reports that Tugrul Turkes, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cypriot Affairs, has alleged that the Cyprus Conference which will take place at Crans Montana on 28 June is held forcibly by the UN. Addressing a Turkish Cypriot festival in London, Turkes claimed:

    "A meeting is again held at Crans Montana forcibly, I have to use this expression 'forcibly', by the UN. I should say the following here. There is something very important we have to know. The Turks of Cyprus do not deserve these isolations. These are punishments unjustly implemented to them and they should get rid of them the soonest. […]"

    Noting that Conservative Party MP Iain Duncan Smith was among the participants at the festival, the paper notes that Turkes alleged also the following referring to the Cyprus Conference: "[…] The politicians in Cyprus and mainly the esteemed president, the negotiator and the government are doing whatever they can. And we as Turkey are doing whatever we can to contribute to this issue. I know that totally the opposite thing is presented in the international press. However, as someone who enters into the kitchen of this issue, I am saying openly and clearly that both Turkey and the esteemed representatives of Cyprus are in favour of a solution. However, debates exist as to what is the solution. […]"

    Claiming that the problem is the fact that the Greek Cypriot side sees the Turkish Cypriots as minority, Turkes alleged: "Our proposal, however, is to secure and establish a new proper federal state with two equal communities. […] The current population proportions do not express anything. This is not acceptable. I am saying it very openly and clearly. The Republic of Turkey is ready for everything on the basis of the unification of two equal communities and two equal structures regardless of their population. […]"

    Noting that another matter is the "security issue", Turkes alleged: "If when you go to the south they break the window of your car and you cannot find a police station to submit a complaint, when your car is robbed you cannot file a lawsuit for one year, it is not possible to refer to security there. These should be solved".


    [02] Akinci is satisfied with his contacts in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (25.06.17) reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci held a meeting in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday at the presence of Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Minister for EU Affairs, Omer Celik.

    Returning to the occupied area of Cyprus, Akinci stated that their target is for a new period in Cyprus history to begin with the Conference for Cyprus at Crans Montana on 28 June and expressed his satisfaction with the fact that in Turkey he saw the same "determined approach" as the one of the Turkish Cypriot side for achieving a result in the Conference. He said that both with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim, they evaluated the Cyprus negotiations and the Conference on Cyprus to be held at Crans Montana, which they see as the "final station".

    "In case the Greek Cypriot side and Greece exhibit the same approach, there is absolutely no reason for not having a result at Crans Montana", he argued.


    [03] Akinci and his team is leaving today for the Crans Montana meeting

    Under the title: "All eyes at Crans Montana", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.06.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is getting ready to go tī Switzerland for the upcoming Crans Montana meeting.

    According to the paper, Akinci along with the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami, his wife Meral Akinci and his advisor Cenk Gurcag are living today at 16.15 for Switzerland. His team consists of his spokesman Baris Borcu and other associates will leave for Crans Montana on Tuesday.

    The paper further reports that the "TRNC government", will be represented by the "deputy prime minister and minister of economy" Serdar Denktas and by the "foreign minister", Tahsin Ertugruloglu. Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political parties will also participate at the meeting.


    [04] Akinci argued that the Cyprus talks have reached their final stage

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 24.06.17), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the obligation to settle or solve domestic problems could not be neglected while efforts were being made to reach a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    In an address on the occasion of the Bayram holiday, Akinci said that the Cyprus talks which have been intensively continuing for the past two years have reached their final stage. He said that these efforts will either be concluded with a settlement through exercising the necessary determination and political will or will result in the failure of the conference on Cyprus.

    Akinci also said that on the basis of past experiences he preferred to remain cautiously optimistic so as not to falsely raise the hopes of the "people".

    Pointing out that responsibility to address domestic issues or problems could not be neglected while efforts continued to achieve a settlement on the island, Akinci criticized the increased number of "TRNC citizenships" that have recently been "granted".

    On the issue of traffic, Ak?nc? said that society was experiencing some sort of traffic trauma. "Everyone must grasp and comprehend their responsibility. We must step up efforts for legal and technical means as well as raise awareness on the issue of traffic", he added.

    On the issue of violence against women in light of the recent rise in the number of murders committed against women in the occupied area of Cyprus, Akinci said that this problem could not be underestimated.

    Akinci also underlined the need to take measures on issues pertaining to the environment as well as the use of excessive pesticides in agricultural products.

    [05] Erdogan and Akinci have reportedly decided not giving concessions on the security and guarantees

    During their recent meeting in Istanbul Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci decided to continue supporting the positions of the Turkish side on the issue of security and the guarantees, according to the correspondent of Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper in the occupied area of Cyprus (25.06.17, online, Sefa Karahasan, who citing diplomatic sources, argued that Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side will not take a step backwards on the issue of the security and guarantees at Crans Montana.

    The sources told Karahasan that the security of the Turkish Cypriots is a sine qua non and alleged that "a confusion of meanings is created recently on the issue of the guarantees and security". The sources alleged also the following:

    "An attempt is deliberately exerted to present the chapter of the 'security and guarantee as 'security and guarantees'. Turkey is not guarantor of only the one side of the island, that is, of northern Cyprus. It is also guarantor of the Greek Cypriots living on the island, that is, of the whole island. There is a single guarantee over the island. There are not guarantees. The guarantee is a sine qua non. The presence of the Turkish army on the island is sine qua non. The Greek Cypriot side opposes to the guarantee but the law does not function even on the issue of the attacks against Turkish Cypriots during the past one year. Let no one expect concessions to be made on the issue of the guarantee and the army in such a case. The Turkish Cypriots, all political parties of the TRNC, state that the guarantee of Turkey is needed".

    Referring to the UNSG's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Bath Eide, the sources argued that Eide "is chasing his career" and added: "He does not want to give the impression that he left the Cyprus problem unfinished and went away. No unacceptable steps could be taken for Eide's career".

    Referring to the territory chapter, the sources alleged: "The Greek Cypriots ask continuously for land for the federal state. They are obsessed with Morfou. They want necessarily a part of Morfou. This approach is not acceptable. […] It is said that the problem continues for 50 years. It will continue for another 50 but no one will give concessions from the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. The situation cannot continue in this manner."

    The sources underlined the importance of not making concessions at the negotiating table having the mentality that "the Greek Cypriots will not accept them anyway" in order for keeping the Greek Cypriots at the negotiating table and give the impression to the world that the Greek Cypriots cause troubles. They argued that making concessions in order for the world to see that the Turkish side has taken steps would be wrong.


    [06] Turkish Cypriot expats from the UK prefer to travel to Cyprus via the ports of the Republic of Cyprus instead of the illegal Tymbou airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.09.17) under the title: "The Turkish Cypriots are coming from the south", reports in its economic pages that the Turkish Cypriots living in the UK prefer to travel to the island via Larnaca airport instead of the illegal Tymbou airport.

    According to the figures provided to the so-called ministry of tourism and culture, during the period January-May 2017, the number of the Turkish Cypriots expats who used the occupation regime's airports and ports to travel to the occupation regime were decreased by 10,7% while there was an increased by 10,9% on the number of Turkish Cypriot expats who travelled to Cyprus using either Larnaca airport or Paphos aiprort.

    Also, according to the figures, during the first five months of 2017, the number of passengers who travelled to the occupation regime via the "ports and airports" increased by 12,47%, comparing with the same period of the previous year, and thus reaching to 677, 192 from 602, 070.

    According to the same figures, during the same period of last year in total 8, 582 Turkish Cypriots expats from London came to Cyprus via the illegal Tymbou airport, while at the same time, the number of Turkish Cypriots who came to the island this year via the illegal Tymbou airport during the same period of this year has reached to 7, 668.

    The paper adds further that the Turkish Cypriots travelers who wish to travel from or to London prefer to do so via the "south", as the Republic of Cyprus is called, either due to the low ticket prices or in order to avoid the problems arisen from the new practice which is implemented with the flights from Turkey and the occupation regime to the UK [touchdown system].


    [07] Columnist describes how the "TRNC citizenship" can be "transferred" to various persons through marriage

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.06.17) publishes an article by the paper's editor-in-chief Cenk Mutluyakali who writes about a story that a woman told him regarding the "granting of TRNC citizenships".

    According to the article, a settler woman once married a person who had the "TRNC citizenship", therefore she was able to get the "citizenship" as well through marriage. However, later she divorced the man who left the breakaway regime leaving her with a debt. She later married a settler who became a "TRNC citizen" because of her. This person now has a business in the breakaway regime of his own. Then she divorced this person as well.

    Nowadays, the settler woman is married again and as she told the journalists the procedure for her third husband to be granted the "TRNC citizenship" is almost finalized.


    [08] More about FETO links in the occupation regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.06.17) reports on the case of Selcuk Genc, one of those being arrested in the occupation regime with the allegation of having links with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO) and writes that the "chairman" of the "religious affairs department", professor, doctor Talip Atalay who gave to Genc in 2013 a recommendation letter in order to be able to start his "doctorate decree" in the occupation regime.

    Commenting on the issue, Atalay stated, inter alia, to the paper, during that period (2013) the FETO organization was not reported as illegal or as a "terrorist organization" neither in Turkey nor in the "TRNC", recalling the occupation regime has defined for the first time FETO as a terrorist organization in 26 May 2016.


    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.06.17) reports that Emel Adsiz' spouse of Osman Adsiz, who was arrested the other day in the occupation regime with alleged links to FETO, has been surrendered to the occupation regime's police and denied any accusations that she has also links with the FETO group.


    [09] Erdogan praised TurkStream project

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.06.17), Turkey's President Erdogan said on Friday: "TurkStream Natural Gas Project is a beautiful symbol of our foreign policy and win-win approach, in which we suggest that energy should not be a cause of conflict in international relations but a unifying instrument for peace".

    Erdogan spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was reviewing the Pioneering Spirit vessel that will undertake the construction in Russia's Anapa city, on the northern coast of the Black Sea.

    Construction works for TurkStream's offshore section began in the deep waters of the Black Sea, according to Gazprom's statement released Friday. "Russia is an important energy actor in the region with its extensive natural gas resources and strong infrastructure. At the same time, Russia is a reliable and stable partner of our country in the field of energy," Erdogan said.

    With large-scale projects such as Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant and TurkStream, we hope to develop our friendship, he added.

    Praising the project, Erdogan said, "These kinds of large energy projects have an exceptional place in establishing interdependence in terms of our economic and political bilateral relations". Energy projects between Turkey and Russia, especially natural gas projects, have been an important and reliable part of the energy supply security for nearly 30 years, he added.

    TurkStream will ensure that the Russian natural gas is transmitted directly to Turkey without being dependent on the transmission system of any other country, Erdogan said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the cooperation of both countries. He pointed out that the business cooperation between Turkey and Russia is above the level of business association conducted with many other countries.

    Putin emphasized that "the coordination process with other countries took years, but with Turkey it has quickly resolved within a short period of time". "The intergovernmental agreement on TurkStream Project was signed 7 months ago. Construction began on the project within a few months," he said.

    The first line will be completed within the scope of the project next year and the second line will be completed in 2019, Putin informed.

    [10] Erdogan backs Qatar's response to list of demands by Gulf States

    According to Turkish state television TRTworld (online, 25.06.17), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan said on Sunday that he backed Qatar's response to a list of demands issued by Arab states boycotting the Gulf emirate, and said that calls to shut down a Turkish military base there were disrespectful.

    Qatar has described the pressure by its larger neighbours as an "illegal blockade" aimed at curbing its sovereignty, and said that the ultimatum by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain was "unreasonable".

    The sanctions have disrupted Qatar's main import routes by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from big container ships docked in the UAE. But Qatar so far has avoided economic collapse by quickly finding alternative channels and says its huge financial reserves will meet any challenges.

    Erdogan said Turkey appreciated and endorsed Qatar's response to the 13 demands, which include closing the Al Jazeera satellite television network, curbing relations with Iran and shutting a Turkish base in Qatar.

    "We consider these demands are against international law," Erdogan told reporters after Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul. "It is a breach of Qatar's sovereign rights."

    Erdogan said Turkey had offered to set up a military base in Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, but Riyadh had not responded. "Even though they still didn't come back to us on this, asking Turkey to pull back its troops (from Qatar) is disrespectful against Turkey," he said.

    [11] Turkey's MFA: Turkish troops in Qatar are 'not against any country'

    According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (online, 26.06.17), Turkey's military deployment in Qatar aims to promote regional security and should not be seen as a move against any country, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sunday.

    In a statement, spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu referred to an agreement signed in 2014 between Turkey and Qatar as proof that Turkish efforts to set up a military base in Qatar had nothing to do with the ongoing crisis among the small Gulf state and other Arab countries.

    On June 5, five Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen -- abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the accusations, describing the attempts to isolate it as "unjustified".

    "The purpose of the deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces in Qatar is to contribute to the security of the region as well as to provide Qatar with support in military training. Our activities are not against any particular country," Muftuoglu said. He emphasized that Turkey had close ties with all Gulf countries and underlined the existence of a strategic dialogue mechanism between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    Muftuoglu said the establishment of the Turkish military base in Qatar was in line with the common vision of Turkey and the GCC for promoting regional peace, security and stability. "Just like the presence of other foreign military bases or units in other countries of the region, our military presence in Qatar is principally based on a decision taken by the two countries relying on their sovereign rights," he said.

    Qatar said early Saturday it has received a list of demands by the Saudi-led Arab countries to end their blockade on the Gulf country.

    According to foreign media, the 13-point list of demands includes the closure of Al Jazeera television, downgrading ties with Iran and extraditing "terrorists". The Arab countries have given Doha a 10-day deadline to meet the demands.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (online, 25.06.17) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday held separate phone calls with his Qatari and Saudi counterparts and Qatari Defense Minister, shortly after Qatar disclosed the demands made by its neighbours weeks after they broke off ties with the Gulf country over its alleged support for terrorism.

    [12] Erdogan said he is well after suffering health problem during Eid prayers

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.06.17), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is in a good condition after suffering a "minor health problem" during prayers marking Eid al-Fitr early on June 25.

    "I have a small condition about my blood pressure, related to my diabetes," Erdogan told reporters in front of the Mimar Sinan Mosque after prayers in Istanbul's Atasehir district. "Thank God, I'm well now," he added.

    There were no changes reported in Erdogan's program after the problem.

    Hurriyet reporter Aziz Ozen, who was following Erdogan, said that he saw the President collapse at 6 a.m. before the start of the prayers.

    [13] Commentary: "What is the value of a human life?"

    Columnnist Serkan Demirtas, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.06.17) commented on the hunger strike of the two Turkish academicians in the following article:

    "Teacher Semih Ozacka and academic Nuriye Gulmen were arrested on terror charges on May 23, on the 75th day of their hunger strike. The two educators decided to go on hunger strike after they were dismissed from their positions under the state of emergency rule that has been in place since July 2016, right after the failed coup attempt. Numerous efforts to return to their jobs had been left unanswered.

    Although Ozakca and Gulmen are not linked to what prosecutors and the government called the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO), and did not join the coup plotters on July 15, 2016, they were among over 100,000 people who have lost their jobs through a decree law. After being arrested, they both decided to continue their hunger strike in prison, despite the fact that their health condition is deteriorating, getting more critical with every passing day.

    Despite the urgency of the situation, the first hearing of their case will not take place until mid-September this year - around five months after their arrest.

    Hurriyet has reported that an Ankara court rejected the demand for Ozakca and Gulmen to be released on the 108th day of their hunger strike. The report said a delegation from the Ankara Bar Association recently visited the two in Sincan Prison, and bitterly observed that the physical condition of the jailed educators were deteriorating alarmingly.

    'Ozakca had difficulty walking and arrived in a wheelchair and he also had difficulty talking, according to the statement. Gulmen could not even move from her bed for the interview', read the report. There are other reports urging officials that Ozakca and Gulmen's physical conditions are at a critical and even life-threating stage.

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has announced that he has sent a letter to Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m urging him about the urgency of the situation. Speaking to reporters last week, Y?ld?r?m said he had instructed a Deputy Prime Minister to deal with the issue but the families of the two educators say they have refused to end their hunger strike. 'There is not much to do, as it has been brought to an ideological level', he said.

    Things are little different in the pro-government media. Many newspapers and TV stations have been working to depict these two educators as members of a radical leftist terror organization, without even questioning how they could have worked as instructors for years in state schools if this is the case.

    Once upon a time, one of the most important differences the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had from other political parties was to place human interests above the interests of the state. That was how the AKP reinforced its place in the hearts and eyes of the Turkish public opinion through consecutive elections over the past 15 years. 'Let the human live so the state can live' was - and still is – a line that AKP officials have used when they want to emphasize the importance and value they place on every individual.

    As we are to mark the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, one of two most important religious festivals in Islam, it is our expectation and hope that the government deals with the case of these two young educators in a serious way, in line with their well-established human-first approach, before it's too late."

    [14] Police detained 44 people at Istanbul's banned LGBT Pride march

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.06.17), Police detained some 44 people at an LGBT Pride march in Istanbul's Taksim Square on June 25, which was previously banned by the Istanbul's Governor's Office for the third consecutive year.

    Around 2,000 security forces with helmets and shields took strict security measures and blocked the entrance of the square and Istiklal Avenue from the side streets, carrying out ID checks on passerbys.

    Police initially warned a small group of activists who began to gather around the square waving rainbow flags and carrying LGBT symbols, stating that the march was unauthorized.

    However, they broke up the protest when the activists refused to heed the call, firing teargas, rubber bullets and also using police dogs to scare the protesters off. A police helicopter also hovered above the square to monitor the events.

    Meanwhile, some 20 people who attempted to prevent the march from taking place were initially detained. Police later intervened to stop a group of activists who gathered on side streets around the Cihangir neighbourhood with water cannon vehicles, detaining another 24.

    Among those detained was also Bram Janssen, a photojournalist for the Associated Press, despite holding a press card but not carrying his passport with him.

    The group of activists subsequently dispersed as police maintained security in the area.

    The Istanbul Governor's Office had announced on June 24 that it would not permit this year's Pride March, citing security concerns and public order. It marked the third year in a row that the march had been banned.

    As in previous years, the march had also drawn threats from Turkish ultranationalist groups.

    The Alperen Hearths, a right-wing youth organization linked to the religious nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), had vowed to forcibly prevent the march from taking place even if authorities allowed it.

    The march had taken place without incident in Istanbul for 13 years, but in June 2015 police attacked it using tear gas and rubber bullets. The Governor's Office had also banned the march in 2016 as the country witnessed attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). However, in one of the biggest LGBT events in the mainly Muslim region, the 2014 Pride parade had drawn tens of thousands of people in Istanbul.

    The Pride Committee had defied the ban stating that they would stage the march anyway this year. "The true reason for the reactions toward a march that took place in peace for 12 years is hate," the organizers said. "Our security cannot be provided by imprisoning us behind walls, asking us to hide," they added.

    "Our security will be provided by recognizing us in the Constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom," they stated.

    [15] Berberoglu's lawyers appeal to top court over imprisonment decision

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 23.06.17), imprisoned main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Enis Berberoglu's lawyers have appealed to the Constitutional Court over his imprisonment.

    "We have appealed to the court on the ground that the imprisonment decision for Enis Berberoglu was unlawful", Berberoglu's lawyer, Murat Ergun, said on June 23 at the Constitutional Court in Ankara after making an individual application to the top court.

    Ergun said the individual application of appealing the imprisonment was not made on the same case for the 25 years of prison time sentence, as it has been appealed to the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court only accepts applications in the event that domestic legal remedies are exhausted.

    "We appealed to the court for the decision of imprisonment because it was final. We stated that the imprisonment is a serious violation of the law. We said it violates the right to security and freedom in Article 19 and right to be elected in Article 67", Ergun said.

    Berberoglu will be released for one day to attend his father-in-law's funeral on a temporary license.

    Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 for "leaking state secrets" in a Syria-bound intelligence trucks case, in which he is accused of providing daily Cumhuriyet with video purporting to show Turkey's intelligence agency trucking weapons to Syria.

    [16] Latest draft of Turkey's new national curriculum 'excludes evolution theory'

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 22.06.17), Darwin's theory of evolution has been excluded from the most recent draft of Turkey's new national curriculum, which will be released following the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the head of the Education Ministry's curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmus, has said.

    Durmus told educators during an Ankara seminar on June 20 that the Ministry had presented the draft to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has approved it.

    Accordingly, the "Origin of Life and Evolution" section, which he described as "controversial", will be removed from biology classes in high schools starting in 2019.

    "We have excluded controversial subjects for students at an age unable yet to understand the issues' scientific background. As the students at ninth grade are not endowed with antecedents to discuss the 'Origin of Life and Evolution' section in biology classes, this section will be delayed until undergraduate study," Durmus said.

    Academics from top universities in Turkey previously criticized the prospective move, telling the Education Ministry that the only country from which evolutionary theory was excluded in school education was Saudi Arabia.

    "The subjects of Science and Technology classes in elementary schools should be presented with a perspective that allows students to connect it to subjects they will encounter in future years. It should provide them with an evolutionary point of view," the academics stated, adding that evolutionary biology information should be included in the curriculum starting from fifth grade.

    Durmus also addressed other issues on June 20, noting that obligatory "Religion and Morality" classes would not be included within the curriculum of first, fifth, and ninth graders, but students would be able to choose religion classes as an optional course if they wish.

    "We have undertaken a simplification in the curriculum. It is one of our targets to realize complete learning. In educational programs we are trying to convey basic values, information, skills, capability, sufficiency, attitude, and good behaviour to our children. We have tried to add our local and national values to the curriculum," he added.

    Durmus also touched on the issue of slanted cursive handwriting, the obligatory classroom use of which by teachers was recently abolished.

    "Students will now be able to receive their education with basic upright writing. We'll ask our teachers about their preferences and we'll send them necessary materials depending on the writing style they want to teach," he said.


    (DPs / AM)

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