David Lepeska’s article published in Boston Globe includes factual mistakes
David Lepeska had an opinion piece published in the Boston Globe website on 15 May 2016. Lepeska’s article includes two important factual mistakes.1
First, Lepeska quotes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declaring “democracy, freedom, and the rule of law have absolutely no value any longer”. This statement, however, was incorrectly translated and published by major news outlets on 18 March 2016.
“Under AKP rule, the number of students in Islam-focused public schools, known as imam hatip schools, has leapt from about 60,000 to more than a million.”
The article at this point lacks background information and the reader is pushed to believe that imam hatip schools have mushroomed as a result of Erdogan’s religious project.
In 1996-1997, there were more than 500,000 enrolled students at imam hatip schools. In 1997, the post modern coup brought along the closure of secondary sections of imam hatip schools. Moreover, a new coefficient system in the university entrance exams was introduced, which hindered the graduates of imam hatip school from studying all majors except theology. These changes caused a dramatic drop in the number of students.
In 2011, the unfair coefficient system was abolished, and graduates of imam hatip schools were given the right to study any majors based on their exam results. Likewise, the secondary parts of the imam hatip schools were re-opened. Thus, the number of students attending secondary imam hatip schools rose to 385,830 while college imam hatip schools have 546,443 enrolled students, the total sum being 932, 273.2