Report: Turkish curriculum ‘has been radicalized’

Report: Turkish curriculum ‘has been radicalized’
The Islamization of Turkey's education curriculum is a major departure from the secular vision for the country of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. (File/AP)
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Updated 18 March 2021

Report: Turkish curriculum ‘has been radicalized’

Report: Turkish curriculum ‘has been radicalized’
  • Displays ‘sympathy for the motivations’ of Daesh, Al-Qaeda
  • ‘We suspected that Erdogan himself would be involved in changing the textbooks,’ watchdog tells Arab News

LONDON: Turkey’s school curriculum and textbooks have been radicalized in recent years, according to a new report that found that anti-American sentiment, Turkish nationalism, and “sympathy for the motivations” of Daesh and Al-Qaeda have permeated teaching.

The report also found that Turkish students are now being taught that all non-Muslims are “infidels,” including Christians and Jews, who had previously been referred to as “People of the Book.”

Turkey’s “curriculum adopts an anti-American stance, displaying sympathy for the motivations of ISIS (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda,” said the report, produced by education monitoring group IMPACT-se and British think tank the Henry Jackson Society.

Focused on changes to the curriculum since the 2016 coup attempt, the report said: “Tolerance has dwindled as the curriculum has been radicalized. Jihad war has been introduced into textbooks and turned into the ‘new normal,’ with martyrdom in battle glorified.”

It added: “There is teaching of ethno-nationalist religious objectives in the spirit of neo-Ottomanism and Pan-Turkism.”

Anti-American sentiment, the report found, has been in ascendance in the Turkish curriculum, and is being used to deflect from the government’s economic failings.

“The US is also accused as the mastermind of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and blamed for the escalation of the recent economic crisis,” it said.

“The curriculum’s efforts to rationalize and understand the motives behind the terrorist attacks of Al Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh) should raise alarms,” the report added.

IMPACT-se’s CEO Marcus Sheff told Arab News: “What one teaches children in school today is very much the kind of society one is going to create in the future. Those values, those ideas of national identification, are what children are going to take into adulthood.”

Turkey’s curriculum, he said, is “very specific to the kind of society (President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan wants to create. There’s this nostalgia for an age of Turkish domination. There’s an introduction of Islamist ideas that weren’t in the (old) Turkish curriculum.”

Sheff added: “The idea that jihad war is now part of the Turkish curriculum, that martyrdom in battle is now glorified, might not be surprising given what we know about Erdogan … But seeing it in black and white is quite a shock.”

Sheff said the 2016 coup attempt was a turning point for Turkish society and heralded a widespread crackdown.

“We suspected that Erdogan himself would be involved in changing the textbooks … He fired an estimated 21,000 teachers, arrested hundreds, and people from academia were thrown in jail after the failed coup of 2016,” Sheff added. “There was no reason to think he wouldn’t try to influence textbooks.”

Despite the curriculum’s worrying new direction, he said textbooks and curriculums in the Middle East can, and do, change “quite rapidly” — often for the better.

IMPACT-se has celebrated improvements to the Saudi curriculum in recent years, as well as “root and branch” reforms to UAE textbooks.

“Even when the Turkish curriculum has deteriorated to the point it has, with strength of will and political leadership changes could be made in a positive direction,” Sheff said. “But that isn’t what we’re looking at now.”


UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader
Updated 06 December 2021

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

TEHRAN: Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s National Security Adviser, met with Iranian president Ibrahim Raisi on Monday, state news agency WAM said in a report.
During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral relations between the two nations and potential ways to enhance these ties. 
Al-Nahyan and Raisi also exchanged views on several issues of common interest.


UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader
Updated 06 December 2021

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

TEHRAN: Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s National Security Adviser, met with Iranian president Ibrahim Raisi on Monday, state news agency WAM said in a report.
During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral relations between the two nations and potential ways to enhance these ties. 
Al-Nahyan and Raisi also exchanged views on several issues of common interest.


Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh
Updated 06 December 2021

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh
  • Five other Peshmerga fighters were wounded in the violence late Sunday in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD: Four Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed in an attack blamed on the Daesh group, a security official said Monday, the third such assault in less than two weeks.
Five other Peshmerga fighters were wounded in the violence late Sunday in northern Iraq that targeted an outpost north of Kirkuk, the source said.
Kurdish army forces confirmed the deadly attack but did not say how Peshmerga fighters were killed in wounded, in a statement accusing Daesh of responsibility.
It was the third attack blamed on Daesh militants in less than two weeks against the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.
On Thursday, Daesh claimed responsibility for an assault south of the Kurdish capital of Irbil that killed at least nine Peshmerga fighters and three civilians.
At the end of November, five Peshmergas were killed in a roadside bombing also claimed by the militant group.
Daesh seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.
The Iraqi government declared the extremists defeated in late 2017, although the Daesh retains sleeper cells which still strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.


Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead
Updated 06 December 2021

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead
  • Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, car-ramming and occasional shooting attacks in recent years
  • Most have been carried out by lone attackers with no known connection to militant groups

JERUSALEM: A 16-year-old Palestinian rammed a vehicle into an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank overnight, wounding a security guard before being shot and “neutralized” at the scene, the Israeli Defense Ministry said Monday.
Israeli media reported that the alleged attacker was killed, while a ministry official declined to comment further.
The attack came two days after a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank stabbed and wounded an Israeli man just outside Jerusalem’s Old City and tried to stab a Border Police officer before being shot and killed. Video taken by bystanders showed the police continuing to shoot the attacker after he had dropped to the ground and preventing medics from approaching him.
The shooting drew comparisons to a 2016 incident in which an Israeli soldier was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground. The soldier was imprisoned for several months in a case that divided the country.
The Israeli Justice Ministry said the two officers involved in Saturday’s shooting were brought in for questioning before being released without conditions. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other top officials have praised the officers’ response to the attack.
Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, car-ramming and occasional shooting attacks in recent years. Most have been carried out by lone attackers with no known connection to militant groups, which have praised the attacks without claiming responsibility for them.
Rights groups say Israel sometimes uses excessive force, killing suspected attackers who could have been arrested and did not pose an immediate threat. Israeli officials say forces must make split-second decisions in dangerous situations and that all such incidents are investigated.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. The territory’s 2.5 million Palestinian residents live under Israeli military rule, with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority administering cities and towns.


Nigeria added to Bahrain’s travel ‘red list’

Nigeria added to Bahrain’s travel ‘red list’
Updated 06 December 2021

Nigeria added to Bahrain’s travel ‘red list’

Nigeria added to Bahrain’s travel ‘red list’
  • The recent directive comes amid an increase in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 omicron cases around the world

MANAMA: Nigeria has been added to Bahrain’s travel ‘red list’ as part of a new update announced on Sunday by the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the country’s Civil Aviation Affairs. 
According to Bahraini authorities, the list also includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola and Zambia.
Passengers from red list countries are prohibited from entering Bahrain, including those who have transited through the mentioned countries; however, this does not apply to citizens and residents of Bahrain.

The recent directive comes amid an increase in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 omicron cases around the world, which was first detected in southern African nations. 

Several countries have already imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa, including the UAE, US, Britain, Brazil, Indonesia, Kuwait and the Netherlands.