Author : Hurriyet Dailynews
Posted : May 27, 2017
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he has instructed the sports minister to order the removal of the word “arena” from the names of all sports stadiums across Turkey.
“I am against ‘arenas.’ You know what they do in arenas, don’t you? People were dismembered there by animals. I have given the instruction to the minister and we will remove the name ‘arena’ from stadiums. There is no such thing in our language. Look at the definition, there cannot be such a thing,” Erdoğan said in a speech on May 26 addressing İmam Hatip religious vocational school graduates in Istanbul.
The president had previously signaled his unhappiness with the term “arena,” heralding the latest order.
Erdoğan also slammed criticisms towards ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) education policy, particularly in regard to allegations that the AKP gives special attention to İmam Hatip schools.
“The news that states that students are forcibly enrolled in İmam Hatip schools and that these schools were forcibly opened are distorted and deliberate,” Erdoğan said.
“It would be me to stand against such a thing. Those who are speculating about that are assuming this because they are oppressive and fascists. We don’t have and will not have anything to do with force, pressure and, above all, social and political engineering,” Erdoğan said.
His comments came after opposition parties raised concerns over the rise in the number of students who are enrolled in İmam Hatip schools.
According to the Education Ministry’s statistics for 2017, the total number of İmam Hatip high schools in Turkey is 4,185, while the number of students is 1,291,425. The figure is significantly higher than the 84,898 students who were enrolled in 500 İmam Hatip schools in 2003.