Tolga Korkut - [email protected]

Dec 2 2008

YOK's circular about excusing the Jewish and the Armenian students
and personnel during their religious holidays gets reactions, since
the other religious groups are not included in the practice.

According to the information bianet obtained, the Higher Education
Council (YOK) is getting ready to widen the scope of its circular about
excusing the Armenian and Jewish students and personnel during their
religious holidays. For there have been reactions to the circular in
its original form.

According to the report of Sefa Kaplan from daily Hurriyet, the
YOK circular sent from the YOK president Yusuf Ziya Ozcan to all of
the rectors in its present form has only excused the Jewish and the
Armenian students and personnel during their religious holidays.

Positive but not enough Prof. Dr. Ayhan Aktar with whom bianet met
about the subject describes the move as a positive step, but says
it will not be enough. For the circular in its present form excludes
the other non-Muslim groups.

Neither all the Armenians are Gregorian, nor all the Greeks are
Orthodox, and nor all the Turks are Muslims The academicians with
whom bianet met about the subject say that it was wrong to do the
categorization using terms such as "Ermeni" (Armenian) or "Rum"

The circular in question leaves out the Syrians, the Rums (Greeks),
the Keldani (Chaldeans), and the non-muslim Turks.

The holidays listed in the circular as Armenian holidays are the
holidays of the Apostolic Armenian Church (Gregorian). But there
are Catholic Armenian and Greeks, too. Chaldeans are Catholic as
well. Their holidays are different. The believers of the Greek Orthodox
religion are excluded, too. There are Protestants living in Turkey
and moreover, the Alewite religious celebration of Hıdırellez is
kept outside as well. Then there is Newroz celebrated by many groups
in the Middle East and the Caucasus.

The academicians believe that if there is going to be a practice like
this one, then it should be based on religions, not the ethnic groups.

According to Aktar, they can take the list of the religious holidays
from the religious leaders and make their arrangement accordingly.

There are also academicians who say that it is wrong to include only
the monotheistic religions in the implementation; all of the religions
should be included.

There are more than 90 religious holidays in the USA The state of
New Jersey in the USA prepared a similar list, but they told the
educational institutions in their area that they could have added
other religious holidays they had wished to the list.

The list has more than 90 religious holidays and days: Islam, Orthodox,
Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, Sikh, Shinto, Taoism, Russian Orthodox, Buddhism,
all the other Christian sects.