Unresolved: New law on minority schools might work for Greek but not Armenian children

Unresolved: New law on minority schools might work for Greek but not Armenian children

The new regulations that came into effect on March 20 regarding minority schools in Turkey are causing confusion among educators, who claim the latest changes don’t solve the problems faced by the children of foreign nationals, writes the Turkish Hurriyet Daily.

Istanbul deputy education director Nedat İlhan told the Hürriyet Daily News that Turkey has diplomatic relations with Greece but not with Armenia, and Armenian immigrants come to Turkey illegally. The children of illegal Armenian immigrants will still not be able to attend school regardless of the changes in the regulations.

The regulations concerning private schools in Turkey and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne allow only for Turkish citizens to attend minority schools. A clause stipulating the children of Turkish citizens can attend only their own minority community’s schools was removed in the new regulations that appeared in the Official Gazette on March 20, however.

Some 15,000 Armenian citizens are currently residing in Turkey as illegal immigrants, according to the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s data. Their children cannot attend minority schools in Turkey both due to their illegal status and the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne. They were granted the status of “guest students” some two years ago, however, so they may now attend schools but cannot receive any diplomas or report cards.

Some 70 “guest students” attend the Armenian and Anatolian Greek minority schools in Istanbul, although many illegal Armenian immigrants choose not to take advantage of the new “guest student” policy, as they prefer not to reveal their identities.