Prayer breaks come to Turkish universities

Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YÖK) has sent a circular instructing universities to reschedule their lessons to allow students to attend Friday prayers, Ahval News has learnt from sources at a Turkish university.

The circular, dated Apr. 4, 2018, orders the rector of the university to reschedule working hours, lectures and exams to avoid clashes with Friday prayers.

As justification, it gives former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s regulation allowing civil servants to take those hours off.

Signed by Professor Rahmi Er, the deputy head of YÖK, the circular states that “the necessity has arisen to remind you of the importance of protecting the rights of students and staff in the context of this circular in terms of freedom of religious belief, which is protected in the constitution.”

Under the ruling Justice and Development Party, Turkey has placed Quran lessons onto the primary school curriculum and transitioned to a more religion-focused education system.