President Vetoes Religious Schools Bill

May 28, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

On May 28, 2004 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed a controversial education reform bill on the grounds that it promoted religious schools and infringed on the secular principles of the Muslim nation. The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has its roots in a banned Islamist movement, backed the law in parliament earlier this month despite a public outcry and objections from the influential army. The bill was designed to make it easier for graduates of religious vocational schools to obtain university degrees other than in divinity studies, thus opening the way for them to hold public office. Sezer, a staunch secularist, rejected four key articles of the legislation, saying that 'the real aim' of the bill was to encourage youths to attend religious schools...The so-called imam-hatip vocational schools are tasked by law to train imams and other Islamic clergy for Turkey's mosques, but many believe that they have become a breeding ground for Islamist political movements."