Turkey Forgoes Inclusive Education

08/26/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A recent academic report entitled Inclusive Education for Religious Minorities: The Syriacs in Turkey evaluates how the country’s education system impacts a group of Christians not officially recognized by the authorities. The report was published by Mardin Artuklu University, which is located in an area that historically has had a significant Syriac / Assyrian Christian population. These numbers decreased because of the genocide a century ago.

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which helped form the modern Republic of Turkey, recognizes the rights of non-Muslims but for the Christian community limits that recognition to Greeks and Armenians. Protestant and Assyrian communities (which includes Syriacs) thus are excluded. For Syriacs, what this means in the education system is that they cannot have law-abided schools (unlike Greeks and Armenians).

The academic report included a survey of Syriac families to evaluate this situation’s impact on their community. The report listed three conclusions as a result of this investigation. First, that policy-making lacked an approach which supports diversity within schools. Second, that school cultures have not built inclusive communities. And third, that a lack of school organization meant that they could not ensure the learning of all and mobilize resources towards this goal.

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