Education Minister Omer Dincer conducted a historic visit to Mihitaryan Armenian School in Sisliâ€™s Pangalti neighborhood, becoming the first minister from the department to visit an Armenian school in the history of the Turkish Republic.
The occasion was in return for a visit last year in which students from the school came to Dincerâ€™s office to request that hostile references to Armenians be removed from textbooks.
Speaking to the Hurriyet Daily News before Dincerâ€™s visit, the schoolâ€™s principal, Karekin Barsamyan, said they were very pleased to host such a historic visit.
â€œMinorities think they are the only ones who are subjected to problems, but this is not the case,â€ Dincer said during the event, which included a cocktail. â€œIn the past, not only the minorities and Alevis, but Sunnis were also victimized by authoritarian rulings and violations of rights and liberties. We aim to spread [practices in accordance with] human rights and liberties. The only way to create a peaceful atmosphere in society is democracy.â€ The minister also touched on elective courses on mother tongues that began this school year. â€œWe are taking our actions by considering that each child is an independent individual,â€ Dincer said.
The ministry drew reaction after stipulating that such classes would only be opened after 10 students expressed a demand to take the lessons. Addressing recent discussions over the insertion of religious questions onto the university entrance exam, the minister said: â€œThe subject was unfortunately misrepresented to the public. The lessons have been given and the questions have been asked under the category of â€˜Education for Religion and Ethicsâ€™ for years. It is not about a specific religion. [Students from] minority schools will be asked other questions in accordance with their curriculum.â€
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