Teachers unions say school funds losing out to mosques

Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Afrika’ reported that the Turkish Cypriot Primary and Secondary School Teachers’ Trade Unions, KTOS and KTOEOS respectively, have said that the Turkish Cypriots will not succumb to the “army of the imam”, just like they had not succumbed to the “army of the priest” in the past.

In a joint statement issued by KTOS’ chairman Guven Varoglu and KTOEOS’ general secretary Mehmet Tasker, the two trade unions criticised the influence of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) prior to the the opening ceremonies of additional classrooms at the theological college in Haspolat and of the new mosque which are expected to take place today.

They said that firstly, the Turkish Cypriots have been turned into minority with the implementation of mainland Turkey’s assimilation policies and now they are struggling to protect their identity. They highlighted that with Koran lessons and the construction of mosques and building complexes adjacent to mosques, “which are not in harmony with the country and the structure of the society, it is as if efforts are being exerted to turn the country into a city of Saudi Arabia”.

They pointed out that the inaugural ceremony of the Hala Sultan Mosque would take place today in accordance with the statement made by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that “we want to raise a religious generation”.

“The fact that 22 million Turkish lira (TL) have been put aside for the construction of only one mosque, while only 11 million Turkish lira (TL) are reserved for repairing all state schools, clearly demonstrates this mentality”. The Turkish Cypriots do not need mosques, dervish lodges, hodjas and pilgrims, they added.

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