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Alevi organizations express their concerns about the new curriculum for primary and secondary education

Alevi organizations in Turkey are strongly opposing a new curriculum proposal for primary and secondary education announced on April 26, citing concerns over the government’s ideological influence and misrepresentation of Alevism, the Artı Gerçek News reported -website.

The new curriculum proposal, “Türkiye Yüzyılı Maarif Modeli” (Educational Model for the Century of Turkey), has been open for public comment for a week. It was heavily criticized for its overemphasis on religious education, particularly the concentration on Islam within the curriculum. Critics claim this violates the secular constitution.

Mustafa Aslan, president of the Alevi Bektaşi Federation (ABF), criticized the new curriculum, saying it is “…a step towards transforming education into a system that promotes a unique religious ideology, regressive policies and racism.”

The new curriculum has also been criticized for introducing important topics such as military coups, warfare and death into primary education. Critics fear that exposing young children to such topics could have a detrimental effect on their psychological well-being and development.

Alevi leaders have repeatedly expressed concern that the situation of Turkey’s Alevi population is becoming increasingly precarious as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has failed to deliver on its promise to grant them greater rights to the free practice of their beliefs and imposed its own version. of Islam in different segments of society.

Ercan Geçmez, chairman of the Hacı Bektaş Veli Anadolu Cultural Association, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the current education reforms under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

“Our request was to teach the history of religions, not to limit religious education to Sunni Islam and impose it on the entire society,” Geçmez said.

Alevis have historically been the largest religious minority group in Turkey, making up as much as 20 percent of Turkey’s 85 million inhabitants. Alevism, which includes Shia, Sufi, Sunni and local traditions, is a form of Islam that emerged in the Middle Ages.

Turkey has long rejected Alevis demands for state recognition, and cemevis – a place of worship and community gathering for Alevism’s followers – are not officially recognized by the state.

Alevi groups accuse Turkey’s ruling AKP of moving education away from its secular and scientific roots and creating a curriculum that aligns with its ideological stance.

The Turkish government had launched an initiative in 2009 called the ‘Alevi Opening’, aimed at achieving a better understanding of Alevis’ problems through a series of workshops and implementing reforms based on that understanding. Yet the government did not follow the recommendations in a report based on the outcomes of the workshops and took only a few token steps. Promises such as the official recognition of cemevis and changing the law regarding compulsory classes in religious education were not kept.

Furthermore, hate crimes against Alevi communities are common. Cemevis have occasionally been vandalized, with curses and other insulting words written on the walls.

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