Religious officials appointed in schools in another Turkish province

Turkey’s Kırklareli Provincial Directorate of Education appointed imams as spiritual counselors to 158 schools in the province. It became the third province where Muslim religious officials attended classes.

Teacher unions gather for a protest against the protocol allowing religious officials to be appointed to schoools.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Kırklareli Provincial Education Directorate has sent a letter to district governors announcing the appointment of spiritual counselors to 158 schools, including primary, secondary and high schools.

Kırklareli province in Thrace becomes the third province after Aegean İzmir and Central Anatolian Eskişehir provinces to appoint Muslim religious officials under the title of spiritual counselors to schools, according to the reporting of daily BirGün.

Education Ministry has been assigning imams and preachers to schools across the country as part of the special protocol under the project named “I am sensitive to my environment, I claim my values (ÇEDES).”

While many of the names on the list for the appointments in Kırklareli province were imams, there were also other religious officials, such as preachers, who are registered under the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).

Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) provincial branch president Okan Balcı stated that they could not understand religious officials were need for what kind of needs. Balcı said, "In almost every school, the provincial branch of Diyanet has assigned an employee. We do not understand what kind of task they will undertake within the scope of the project and how they will carry out their activities.”

He added that there is no need for “spiritual counseling services” when there have been already school counselors trained for this task. 

“The target of this step is secular scientific education itself. Steps that will remove the last crumbs of secular education continue to be taken,” Balcı stated.