Education For Children of Turkey’s Armenian Migrants Comes Under Question

ANKARA (Radikal)—Whether or not children of Armenian migrants in Turkey will receive education has come under question after a Cabinet minister disputed recent remarks of the deputy prime minister and said they might have education soon.

While confirming the ongoing efforts to provide education to children of foreigners who live in Turkey legally, Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu said it is a hard task to offer schooling for children of undocumented Armenians, the daily Radikal reported on Friday.

Cubukcu’s comment came days after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told the daily Hurriyet and private NTV channel that providing education would not be good only for the children of undocumented Armenians, but also for Armenians who are “in Turkey for a reason.” The education debate on undocumented Armenians in Turkey also came just days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel them.

“Despite the existing sanction in the law concerning undocumented immigrants, Turkey has opened its arms for those coming from Armenia to find employment. The children of these people who came to Turkey for business should be able to go to school if they want. I believe the prime minister is sympathetic [to this],” Arinc said.

However, when asked if there is such a project in the Education Ministry, Cubukcu said: “That matter in the news story was presented within the scope of children of undocumented Armenians studying at Armenian minority schools in Turkey. However, the statement that Mr. Arinc made was about an adjustment to the system for foreign citizens who live in Turkey, for business or for other purposes, to be able to send their children to school.”

According to the Lausanne Treaty, she said, students admitted to minority schools must be Turkish citizens and minority members. “Therefore, a dispute exists on whether this condition would be asked or not. We are making an effort to solve the problems that religious minorities experience in Turkey.”

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