Second Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug sharply criticized that motion of the government, which promotes Preachers' Schools. Basbug said, “We have serious doubts about the compliance of the motion, which was forwarded to Parliament, with the Constitution. We think that initiatives, which create tension in society, do not benefit the interests of the country. The education system of Turkey, including the Higher Education Board (YOK), needs refinement. Such initiatives should be taken by reaching full consensus by all relevant institutions.
“The education system has some fundamental problems. Our expectation is that these problems should be tackled. We cannot understand why an issue, the rationale of which cannot be fully explained, is so much stressed.
“We have a research on the issue. The annual staffing need of the Religious Affairs Directorate for religious services is 5 thousand 500 employees. In addition, about 2 thousand of the Preachers' Schools graduates continue to higher education in their branches. In sum, the need for Preachers' Schools graduates is approximately 10 thousand. The number of Preachers' Schools graduates is 25 thousand. We have difficulty in understanding the rationale behind the will to increase this number.”
More Docile Stance By Government On Preachers’ Schools
Following the Cabinet meeting, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that the controversial motion on Preachers' Schools was not just related to these schools, moreover it would not be passed from Parliament all at once.
A more docile message on the controversial motion came out of the Cabinet, which gathered after the sharp statements by the General Staff on the issue. Government Speaker Cemil Cicek reminded that the motion was forwarded to Parliament and that, “Motions are not passed from Parliament overnight. Moreover, Parliaments do not do everything that the governments want. By considering these, I hope the relevant commission would negotiate with related parties on the issue.” Regarding the sharp statements of the Joint Staff, Cicek claimed that they were not tackled in the Cabinet meeting.