In 1924, Kemal Atat邦rk closed the religious-affiliated schools in an effort to give the education system a secularized, Western orientation. Literacy campaigns in connection with the introduction of the Latin alphabet were of great benefit to the school system. At the same time, there is still extensive illiteracy especially in rural areas, not least in the country’s eastern parts and especially among women (20% over 15 years, for men 4% are reported). The high nativity has long negatively affected the quality of the school with large classes and teaching in double shifts. The teachers have also been heavily controlled by the state with little opportunities for educational initiatives.
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|Land area||783,562 km²|
|Residents per km²||104.7|
|Income per capita||$ 27,000|
|ISO 3166 code||TR|
|Time zone UTC||+3|
|Geographic coordinates||39 00 N, 35 00 O|
In recent years, the Turkish education system has undergone both organizational and substantive reform. Nowadays, the primary school consists of an 8-year free and compulsory compulsory school. In addition to the state schools, there are also chartered private schools, which are largely used by the country’s economic and political elite. Private schools often have expanded teaching in foreign languages and sports. In Istanbul there are special schools for Greeks, Armenians and Jews, while the large Kurdish minority in the country, despite recent years’ commitments, have not met their linguistic needs in the school system.
After elementary school, students can apply to four-year secondary schools or colleges that prepare for universities or serve as vocational schools. There are a large number of secondary schools, partly state colleges, and various kinds of vocational schools, religious so-called imam-hatip schools and of course private colleges, for example Robert College in Istanbul. In 2007, there were almost 8,000 secondary schools in Turkey. In 2006, the number of universities was 118. Many Turkish students study abroad, and Turkish universities also participate in the Erasmus exchange within the Socrates program.
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The Turkish invasion, aircraft and artillery attacks were met by fierce protests from both the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi central government, but Iraq refrained from defending its sovereignty militarily. Massoud Barzani changed his stance, declaring that Iraqi Kurdistan would first provide military resistance “if Turkish forces directly attacked the civilian population or reached more inhabited areas”. The EU understood the Turkish invasion, but called for restraint. So much for the EU’s respect for national sovereignty of states. The United States was in a particularly difficult situation, expressed concern that the invasion could “destabilize the entire region”, yet expressed understanding of Turkey’s position and urged the country to withdraw quickly. However, the Turkish invasion did not weaken the PKK. In August 2008, it sabotaged the oil pipeline passing from Baku through Tblisi to Ceyhan, and in October and December several dozens of Turkish soldiers were killed. New attacks took place in May and October 2009. From March 2010, the PKK stepped up its actions against the Turkish military, responding again with attacks into Iraqi Kurdistan.
In March 2008, the Turkish Supreme Court launched preliminary investigations into whether a ban on the ruling party AKP should be issued. The AKP’s predecessor was also banned. Likewise, the Turkish state has a tradition of banning the Kurdish political parties. The AKP and its predecessor because they are Islamic oriented. The Kurds, because they are Kurdish.
In a court in Diyarbakir, in April 2008, 53 Kurdish mayors were sentenced to 75 days’ imprisonment two years earlier for having written to Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen with a request not to shut down the Kurdish TV station, Roj-TV, which broadcast from Copenhagen. The station was considered by the Turkish state to support the independence movement PKK.
Turkey was hit hard by the global economic crisis in 2008. While GDP growth in 2002-07 averaged 7.4% annually, in 2008 it fell to 4.5% and in 2009 the economy shrank 5.1%.
In January 2009, Prime Minister Erdogan attended the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Here he strongly criticized Israel for its war crimes in Gaza a few weeks earlier. Israeli President Shimon Peres also attended the meeting and provided unusually long talks to explain the Israeli war crimes that cost more than 1,250 Palestinians. When Erdogan could not get extra talk time to comment on Peres’ allegations, he emigrated from the meeting in protest and never declared wanting to attend a WEF meeting again.
The municipal elections in March were won by Erdogan’s AKP, which got 39% of the vote. However, it was a decline from the 2007 parliamentary elections that gave the party 46.7%. The largest opposition party became the Social Democratic Kemalist CHP, which rose 3% to 23.3%.
In spring 2009, Turkey blocked the appointment of Danish Fogh Rasmussen as NATO Secretary General. The main reasons for the Turkish veto were Denmark’s racist nature, the country’s campaign against Islam (including the so-called Muhammad cartoons) and Denmark’s permission for the Kurdish TV station Roj, which broadcasts from Copenhagen. The United States put severe diplomatic pressure on Turkey, and the country ended up abandoning its veto against Denmark getting started to shut down Roj. This work was started in Denmark in May 2009.
In July, the building of the Illisu dam across the Tigris River in eastern Turkey was suspended. The reason was that banks in 3 Western European countries withdrew their export credits. The reason was partly the financial crisis and partly a reference to the consequences of the dam construction. That would result in the forced displacement of 55,000 Kurds.
While the debate on the Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I continued around the world, in August 2009 Turkey and Armenia signed an agreement in Zurich to improve relations between the two countries.
In 2009, Prime Minister Erdogan announced a plan to end the conflict with the Kurdish frontier. This was not a dialogue with the PKK or other Kurdish organizations, but only about permission to use the Kurdish language in the future in the electronic media and political campaigns, and that the Kurdish cities would get their Kurdish names back. However, Kurdish is still prohibited as a public language and in the teaching of children. In December, the Constitutional Court banned the Kurdish party DSP, which was termed “hostile”.