Turkish students see themselves as less religious - the Guardian

Turkish students appear to be becoming less religious despite 18 years of government by an Islamist party, the Guardian said on Wednesday.

"Despite more than a decade of efforts by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to mould a generation of pious Turks, the country’s youth appears to be turning away from religion," the Guardian said.

Erdoğan has repeatedly said he aimed to create a pious generation of Muslim Turks who would help lead a social and economic transformation of the country. The number of students at Imam Hatip schools, used to train clergy, has risen dramatically thanks to his policies and greater government funding.

But a study by Sakarya University and the Education Ministry this year found school students were “resisting compulsory religion lessons, the government’s religious generation project and the concept of religion altogether,” the Guardian said.

Attitude changes toward religion among young Turks could have a dramatic impact on Turkish politics since around half of the country's population is under 30, it said.