Within the framework of visits launched by President Ersin Tatar to high schools, the questions asked by students of the Turkish Maarif College (TMK) [secondary school] and his answers to those questions have been on the media and social media agenda these past few days.
Naturally, in this age of technology, it was impossible to hide what was discussed at the meeting.
And so it was, impossible to hide… it was captured on mobile phones and appeared in the media and social media.
The issue that I really want to touch upon is the fact that the students asked excellent questions, and how the other students applauded them.
Many people believe that the new generation is not interested in the country’s problems and that a very apolitical youth is being raised.
In fact, there are those who are like that; because the system in the country dictates it, those in charge prefer an apolitical youth and unfortunately some families are just not interested in raising conscious children.
However, despite everything, I believe that a majority of this country’s youth are conscious and aware of the problems, and I see it too…
The problems and difficulties experienced in the country scare them the most. They are worried about their future.
Many young people who go abroad to university, who get a taste of “people-oriented administrations”, and “a humane life” do not want to return, and many don’t…
Just because they have a different perception of the world and react differently does not mean they are insensitive towards the country’s problems. They are aware of everything.
The questions directed at the president at the TMK have put our minds at ease.
I know that there are many such young students but Tatar’s visit was good in terms of enabling society and people to see that we have a sensitive youth who question [ events around them].
Even though the majority may not voice it, many people in this country admit that it is wrong to spend huge sums of money to construct a presidential palace and a parliament building whilst so many problems plague the country, when our schools and health centres are falling apart and when big earthquakes in Turkey have claimed thousands of lives…
The high school students also see the mistake and contradiction in all this, disapprove and question it.
While there are so many other problems, so many needs, and many other priorities in the country, while aid is being collected for the earthquake victims, many people question whether it would be better to transfer all or part of the money being spent on the construction of the palace and parliament to address these needs, and youth do not remain indifferent to this.
Believe me, the question directed to President Tatar on the subject by one of the students and the applause she received [from her schoolmates], was the best thing I witnessed in recent days.
The question directed at Tatar as to why he had not removed from duty the head of Religious Affairs, who stirred great public reaction with “his words legitimizing marital rape against women,” was also excellent.
This is the kind of youth we want… One that criticizes and questions what they see as wrong, the kind that is alert.
Not a youth that is taught ‘to keep quiet next to their elders and to only listen’, we need a youth that can speak up about the mistakes of their elders, who can criticize, question and demand that they are corrected.
I think it’s significant and very good that high school students ask these questions and even pressure the president when so many adults are afraid and hesitant to ask, question, or speak up about the construction of the presidential palace (kulliye) and the situation of the head of Religious Affairs.
I want to congratulate the parents of those students for raising children who are not afraid to question [events] and who ask questions.
Those young people asked their questions without fearing their principal, their vice principal, their teachers, the education ministry director or the president who is the head of state, I’m glad they did, this event put our minds at rest.
Even when we make criticisms in our columns, there are those who call us and try to warn us by saying “Why are you doing this, is it your place or business to write about this? You could get in trouble.”
In this day and age, people are being told to keep silent and to refrain from talking about things that are considered objectionable, they want to scare them and place barriers of fear before them.
It’s promising to see the youth of today, the future generations boldly asking the right questions.
Instead of telling the students, “don’t speak with other people’s words”, and “It’s not fitting of a TMK student to ask these kinds of questions,” the president should have said, “You’re asking great questions.” Because these children don’t deserve this system, they deserve to be praised.
Don’t worry, the youth are aware of everything, there is no need for them to be under anyone’s influence… It is neither disrespectful nor shameful to ask questions… Adults who have a responsibility to raise young people should answer their questions, in fact, this is their duty.