Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is riding on the wagon of political Islam to become the Caliph of the Muslim world. For ensuring his success, he has converted Turkey into a lab of political Islam during his 18-year rule. To radicalise the children and youngsters and to build an army of Islamic preachers, he has changed the entire education system of Turkey — dominated by political Islam and projecting Erdogan as the tallest Muslim leader.
The roots of his radicalism lie in the very fact that Erdogan is himself an alumnus of an Imam Hatip school – a set of schools for training Islamic clergymen in a traditional manner. He changed the purely religious nature of the curriculum into politicised Islam that is against the ethos of Turkish culture and shifted the focus of these schools to extremism.
As per some experts “since Erdogan came to power, the number of such schools began to rapidly increase, taking the number from 450 to 5,000 in the past 18 years. The number of Imam Hatip schools has outnumbered the science schools in at least 61 provinces of Turkey. The army of preachers to carry forward Erdogan’s agenda is being build within these schools.”
However, popular discontent against these schools have started erupting as these schools serve no purpose except radicalising students and after graduating from such schools, students are left with no skill sets, no scientific temperament, and eventually no job prospects in the real world.
A recent survey conducted by Ensar Foundation Centre for Religious Education has revealed that over 70% graduates from Imam Hatip schools regretted their decision of being educated from such schools. Besides, 73% graduates of such institutions said that they would not study at such schools, if given a second chance. While 68% students said that they were unhappy with studying at those schools and were uncertain about their future.The survey also revealed that most of the students admitted in Imam Hatip schools earlier had a poor academic record and failing to secure admissions in other schools, Imam Hatip was their last option.
According to the survey, “ 44% respondents confessed that they chose Imam Hatip schools after their poor performance in the national high school placement examinations — an exam that helps students to secure admissions in schools of their choice based on the marks secured in the exam.”
To build a world dominated by political Islam, Erdogan needed to prop a similar model in Turkey itself. Erdogan’s party Justice and Development Party (AKP) is on a mission to destroy the secular fabric of the country since it came to power. It believes that through radical Islamic education, it can build and train its own staff. To serve the Purpose, besides brainwashing the parents, Erdogan’s party has also started to forcefully admit students in these schools.
Besides producing Islamic clerics and foot-soldiers for Erdogan’s political islamist aspirations, these schools have also started to take over the political economy of the country. The top posts of Turkey’s administration and politics are being increasingly acquired by the alumnus of the Imam Hatip schools. The alumni of Kartal Imam Hatip High School, which is also the alma mater of President Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan, have taken over the top positions in the national airlines of Turkey – Turkish Airlines.
It is interesting to see that “Nearly 80 schoolmates of Bilal Erdogan have taken over the top posts of the Airlines. The list also includes board members Arda Ermut and Ogun Sanlier, assistant general managers Abdulkerim Cay and Ahmet Olmustur, press undersecretary Yahya Ustun, head of advertising Rafet Fatih Ozgur, head of human resources Ebubekir Akgul, besides others.”
However, this is not an exclusive case of nepotism related to Erdogan family and Turkish airlines. Earlier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his aide Mehmet Ilkar Ayci, also an alumnus of Kartal Imam Hatip school, as the chairman of the board of the Airlines. President Erdogan’s elder son Ahmet Burak Erdogan has also contributed in tarnishing the image of Erdogan family through nepotism. Manta Marine – the shipping company he is associated with, is facing allegations of corruption and favoritism as its funds have suddenly doubled and are increasing at a rapid rate. Ahmet Burat Erdogan is a senior partner in the airlines and is alleged to promote the company by making illicit favours. However, the door is not equally open for the common youth, leaving them with no other option than to indulge in criminal and radical activities.
The degradation of the youth through promotion of radical Islamist schools at one hand and making illegitimate favors to his own folks, Erdogan has killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, he is ensuring that his kins keep ruling the nation by controlling the resources and facing no tough competition from the Population with an unscientific temperament. Secondly, he is successfully creating an army of Islamic clerics which could further his political Islamist agenda across the world. In this way, Erdogan is taking Turkey towards a path of slow death and proving to be the worst thing that could have happened to the country.