Turkey has no budget for Greek and Armenian schools

school in Turkey

The 22 remaining schools run by minority communities of Armenians, Jews and Greeks in Turkey are suffering – both financially and due to the declining number of students.

Garo Paylan, an Armenian MP of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), came up with a policy idea at Turkey’s parliament to help the minority schools in the country to survive.

On November 2, Paylan submitted a proposal to the Planning and Budget Committee to “increase resources for minority schools” during the 2022 budget meetings of Turkey’s ministry of national education, the newspaper Agos reported.

“Minority schools are also the schools of this country,” Paylan said. “Armenians, Greeks and Jews are trying to keep minority schools alive, and they are trying to pay salaries for their teachers, and to meet the needs of students, but they do not have enough resources.”

The budget of the Ministry of National Education spends 10,000 to 12,000 TL on each student at Turkish schools, added Paylan, suggesting that 4,000 students currently studying at minority schools should also get 10,000 TL each from the budget.

If applied, the proposal would lead to the allocation of 40 million TL (around $4 million) from the ministerial budget to minority schools of the Armenian, Jewish and Greek communities in Istanbul.

“I am sure that both the Minister and the [ruling] AK Party deputies who claim that there is justice and equality [in this country] will support our proposal, and minority schools will get their due from the budget in this country,” Paylan added.

Sadly, Paylan was wrong. His proposal was rejected by the votes of the deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The deputies of the opposition parties – Good Party (IYI) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) did not vote and abstained.

Once again, Turkish-Islamic supremacy that shows no regard for non-Turks was on full display that day at Turkey’s parliament.

Paylan is no stranger to Turkey’s discrimination against minority schools. Before he entered Turkey’s parliament as a deputy, he worked as the principal of Yeşilköy Armenian School in Istanbul.

In a 2010 interview, he said that Armenian schools depend on donations for survival and have no income or budget allocated to them by the Ministry of Education: “We asked the [Turkish] state for 2,000 liras per student; urgent action must be taken,” Paylan said.

For the past eleven years, however, no action has been taken, and the situation has been deteriorating.

The greatest problem minority schools face is the rapidly declining population of non-Muslims in Turkey. The current percentage of Christians and Jews totals only 0.1 percent of the entire population of Turkey, which stands at over 80 million.

Read the full article at Jihad Watch.

Uzay Bulut is a Turkey-born journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor