The Turkish Cypriots’ secular, democratic understanding of education has suffered a very serious blow recently, Cemal Ozyigit, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) has said. He noted that an example of this is the effort to close the Ataturk Teachers’ Academy, which had been educating secular and democratic teachers since 1937.
In statements during a meeting with Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS), Ozyigit referred to the contribution of the teachers to the Turkish Cypriots’ struggles and added: “The Turks of Cyprus may have come from Anatolia but they have a different identity. Over time, they have adopted secular democratic principles. They have religious beliefs and traditions unique to them. No one can deny this”.
Elcil said that “the process of becoming like Arabs, which has recently started regarding the content of education in Turkey, is reflected onto our country”. Noting that examples of this have emerged in the TRNC, Elcil argued that efforts to change the beliefs and the culture of the Turkish Cypriots continue and towards that end, a number of public institutions have been closed down.