The Guardian

'They want a devout generation': how education in Turkey is changing

As pupils begin their new school year, they will find evolution removed from texts and less time spent on Atatürk’s secular ideals
Turkish schoolchildren visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

After 25 years of teaching, Ayşe Kazancı decided to retire early.

The social sciences teacher, who asked that a pseudonym be used to avoid repercussions from the government, had long faced difficulties because of her activism, joining teachers’ union strikes and advocating for leftist and Kurdish causes. After last year’s coup attempt in Turkey, she was put under investigation.

But the introduction of a new curriculum at schools across the country this academic year was the last straw.

As children return to school after the summer break,

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