American diplomats still use the mantra that Turkey is a model for the Middle East. Alas, increasingly it seems that the Middle East is the model for Turkey. According to Yeni Şafak, Turkey’s Islamist broadsheet, the number of students choosing madrasas over traditional high school grounded in Western and secular coursework has skyrocketed to 240,000.
The sharp rise in the number of those seeking a purely Islamist education follows the Turkish government’s watering down of entrance requirements for mainstream universities so that those without a basis in liberal arts could qualify for Turkey’s top schools.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government is also scrapping basic regulations on Quran schools. No longer will Turkey set age requirement initially put in place to stop indoctrination of very young children. Nor will Turkey enforce qualification regulations meant to keep out Saudi preachers who could indoctrinate hate rather than theology.
Alas, if the path to the future is through children’s education, then Turkey’s future appears less in line with Europe’s, and more with the Gulf Cooperation Counci