A whole generation of children born in the 2000s, is the target of Islamist indoctrination in Turkey. It is through an illegally school system that the Ensar foundation infiltrates secular Turkey. With indirect support of President Erdogan and his AKP party.
A few months ago, the Ensar foundation was involved in a pedophile scandal involving 45 boys who had been sexually abused for several years. After the affair caught the attention of the Turkish media, President Erdogan baned journalists from writing about it. Ensar foundation gets millions from the EU’s education fund.
President Erdogan has clearly stated that he wants every family to have at least three children. These children should be brought up religiously and with a hateful heart against dissidents. This is where the Ensar foundation comes in.
”We live in a dark time. We are no longer afraid for ourselves, but we are worried for the sake of our children, ”
says one of the six women who is part of about 50 people in a loosely knit group of activists who in various ways are protesting against the prevailing policy in Turkey. There are women’s rights activists and environmentalists. I use public transport for a few sweaty hours, with three bus changes from Didim on the west coast to a town on the south coast of Turkey to meet some of the members of the activist group. On a couple of occasions the bus was stopped by the military police. While a military police officer checked ID documents inside the bus, another stod outside with a loaded automatic rifle.
My contact had wondered if I wanted to meet some of the activist group – to talk about women, children and politics. Of course I said yes. Our meeting point will be at her home – away from public view. She lives in a spacious, beautiful apartment overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
One by one, ordinary Turkish women drop in. All dressed in Western clothes. None wear the veil. Soon, we sit together around a large table, six women and a man, all well-educated and middle aged. One is a teacher in a state school, another a doctor, a third works with environmental issues, a few have jobs in the tourist industry.
Neslihan Karyael, the only one who dares make her name public, has for seven years now run a sailing school for women, “Women’s Sailing School”. At this sailing school, women from all over the world learn how to sail, but they also have the opportunity to exchange experiences and get to know each other. Every year in September they organise a week of women’s sailing, then the female crews sail for a particular goal. This year the race is for organ donation. Last year the race was against violence against women.
The hostess serves Turkish tea in small tulip glasses then a cake tray with many lovely cakes is put forward. Some of us speak English, some understand only Turkish, but English is translated for the Turkish-speakers.
This group is known to the Turkish police. Some have been in prison because they took part in demonstrations. Their protests are always filmed by the police. They started a petition against the Ensar foundation and had gotten together 600 names, but the police confiscated the lists of names.
”We are all Muslims and have grown up in Muslim homes, but we’ve also grown up in a secular state where religion is a private matter. What we see makes us very, very concerned,” said my neighbour.
- ”When the AKP and Erdogan came to power there was organised a major conference on the future of education in Turkey.
- Participants were among the highest ranking in the education system in the country.
- Erdogan was clear that he wanted a religious generation.
- The result of the conference was, as Erdogan desired.
- To set in motion the religious project, the tax-free Ensar foundation was formed in 2012 with large donations from the Turkish government, but also from the EU’s education fund. ”
Soon it will be only the wild dogs that are free in Turkey.
With the help of the Ensar foundation the AKP and Erdogan are now building up an illegal school system, where the goal is to create a religious Erdogan Youth, to be at the forefront of the Islamisation of Turkey. Turkish journalists have noticed and reported the Ensar foundation, whose president is Ismail Cenk Dilberoglu, a member of the AKP and close friend of Erdogan’s son Bilal.
The Ensar foundation representatives travel around the country to recruit students to the illegal religious schools. They also hold, as the only authorised organisation, seminars in the normal state schools.
In addition, many village schools, especially in eastern Turkey, have been closed while the AKP has ruled the country. This means that many pupils, aged between seven and 14 years, have to go to the major cities and stay as boarders.
But the Ensar foundation provides both school and accommodation in their own houses. There are hundreds of Ensra houses around Turkey. In these houses live and are taught the under age students Islam.
”But, says my neighbour, it is forbidden in Turkey to board children under 14 without their parents. These houses are therefore illegal and because they are illegal they are not inspected by authorities. AKP representatives are present throughout the bureaucratic school system and they are for Islamisation so they see between the fingers. Schools exist, and not – a Catch 22. ”
The underage children living alone with the so-called teachers. It is often former imams who teach. Teachers teach not only in religion, they also utilise the children sexually daily and hourly. They are, so to speak in class.
It all came to light when a nine-year old boy no longer wanted to go to an Ensar school. His sister took him to a doctor, who examined him. It turned out that the boy had been raped. The boy then tells a psychiatrist that it was his teacher who had repeatedly raped him. The Police who began to investigate the case believes that there are probably upwards of 45 boys who were repeatedly raped, writes Die Welt. The doctor who is with the activist group that I visit tries to explain:
”These adults have themselves been exploited as child, sexual exploitation is so to say in the upbringing. They think in this way and do not think there is anything wrong with exploiting children sexually. ”
A few months ago it was revealed that at least 10 under age boys if not more had been sexually abused at an Ensar school in Karaman, a province of Anatolia. The teacher was sentenced to 600 years in prison. The international press has written about this case. The AKP party wanted to make out that it was an individual teacher who was a paedophile who for years used at least ten boys sexually. But this activist group does not think so.
”No,” said the physician, sexual exploitation, especially of girls, is done daily and hourly at these Ensar schools. ”
”They love the boys,” clarifies my neighbor.
This is in the System. In an article in The Media Line, Serbay Mansuroglu, who was the journalist who exposed the pedophile scandal, says that it is probably a matter of 45 boys who for years have been subjected to rape.
Sera Kadigel, a lawyer and a member of the opposition party CHP, the Republican Party, the party Kemal Atatürk formed in 1923, says Ensar probably owns 200 illegal boarding school in Turkey. But the Ensar foundation does not want to admit this. She continues:
”It is not just one event. It goes much deeper. If we cannot stop this it will happen for another ten children, and then another ten. I am convinced that there are hundreds of children today who are exposed to the same thing. ”
Kadigel means that the state has a constitutional responsibility to take care of school children. It is the state that will inspect these boarding schools – not political organisations. To The Media Line Cemre Soysal, who is a child psychologist and has worked with many sexually abused children, says that these abuses are devastating:
”Their lives will never be the same, after they have been abused. It can lead to feelings of guilt and result in shame, bad conscience and feelings of being worthless. The result is that they have difficulty in dealing with people. ”
In March, an MP from the party AKP held a press conference and stated that the party would continue to support Ensar foundation. Sema Ramazanoglu, Social Affairs and Family Minister, called the sex scandal a one-off.
Opposition parties in the Turkish parliament demanded that an inquiry should be set up to investigate and ultimately also to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors. But the AKP Party voted against this proposal.
Where are the European democracies when it comes to defending the Turkish children?