There are 162 schools and 212 mosques in the TRNC and some villages have been left without a school in the name of centralisation, said Ugur Erilen, Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS) administrative council member,.
Speaking at a press conference held by KTOS on Tuesday about the problems of education, Erilen noted that 46 new mosques were built in the last 17 years and added that only 15 new schools were built since 1974. According to Erilen, in June the union established that 48 schools needed repairing but not enough work had been carried out since then on this issue. He pointed out that the state could find money for mosques, theology, hajis and hodjas, but not for repairing schools.
Furthermore, Emel Tel, chairperson of KTOS, urged all members of the community to act together for a “secular, modern, social and principled system” and a public, free of charge and equal education of a high quality. Noting that the time has come for them as a community to defend the secular way of life and their secular institutions, she added that they could jointly spoil the games played with the Turkish Cypriot community, by leaving aside their party identity, supporting the secular way of life and defending their communal existence. “We have no other island or country to live in”, she said.
Tel argued that the UBP-DP government is preparing to build a second theological college, rather than having to dream about a total of six new schooling projects, especially in Girne and other parts of the island.
Emel Tel, “Those who cannot find money for schools and hospitals sign blank cheques for theology colleges”, she said.
Additionally, Mebure Diren, member of KTOS’ administrative council, said: “Mosques, houses the rent of which is paid by the Turkish Embassy and the religious affairs department and associations with unknown sources of income have been turned into centres of religious propaganda and social engineering. Efforts are being made for imams to have a say in the community. Some politicians are taking orders from imams. The main reason for building more mosques is the further spreading of the imams’ influence and ensuring that they carry out more propaganda. Economic aid from Turkish resources is given to some families in return for directing children and young people towards activities and tours [in Turkey]”.