The History of Islamic Education in Turkish Society
With the end of World War II the strains that had been created by the transformation of Turkey under Ataturk erupted into the open.
The political elite splintered into various factions and new elements that had risen to the fore in the twenties and thirties; businessmen, traders, and entrepreneurs.
Began to articulate insistent demands for a greater voice in decision-making. In their drive for more power the new groups quickly gained the support of many elements within the society who, dissatisfied with the rigidity of the CHP and the bureaucracy in general, and with the wartime economic problems in particular, wished to see a greater degree of freedom within the country.
In this atmosphere ideological attitudes ranging from racialism to communism were openly expressed and fundamental political issues became topics of popular debate. This debate culminated in a dramatic change in the political system that could now be characterized as competitive, a change that in turn engendered marked repercussions in every aspect of Turkish life.
For many reasons; including Inönü’s dedication to Ataturk’s ideal of establishing a multiparty system, internal opposition within the CHP, and demands to end one-party rule; opposition politics were legalized in 1946. In 1950 the DP (Democrat Party), formed by four former CHP leaders, was swept into power by an overwhelming majority. This election marked a turning point in the country’s history.
Not only had a remarkable transition from dictatorship to democracy taken place, but the new government promptly embarked upon an ambitious program of economic development that would have significant consequences for Turkish society in general and the educational system in particular (Szyliowicz, 1966).
What had happened was that the first free elections in Turkish history allowed all segments of society to voice their dissatisfaction with the CHP which had been in power for twenty-seven long years; intellectuals wanted democracy, businessmen resented the etatist economic policy, landowners were disturbed by the attempts; however unsuccessful; to induce change in rural areas, and the peasantry, whose way of life (as we have noted) had changed but little, felt neglected and abused by a tyrannical administration.
Secure in its mandate, the DP attempted to carry out its campaign promises, launching an ambitious program of economic development financed in large part with American aid, and liberalizing various restrictive laws.
Furthermore, the DP was aware of the importance of rural support and did its utmost to maintain the favor of the villagers by a partial relaxation of religious restrictions; the call to prayer could once again be chanted in Arabic and religious instruction became a regular school subject unless the parents requested that their children be excused.