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Turkish school textbooks have been steadily inching away from UNESCO standards, dating back to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rise to power in 2003, IMPACT-se, a policy institute that tracks the upholding of UNESCO standards of educational materials, has shown in a new report. Why is this so alarming? “Education is a prime pillar in Erdoğan’s efforts to throw a membrane of sharia over the country,” explained Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The report has found that the Turkish school curricula has radicalized within the time Erdoğan has been in power, close to two decades. Examples include teaching jihad as a normalized, essential value and pushing the glorification of martyrdom in battle. “The task of the Ministry of National Education is to teach every element in the right way,” said Turkish Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz. “The real meaning of jihad is loving our country, homeland and to act accordingly in order to achieve national unity and togetherness.

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