IMAM HATIP SCHOOLS AND THE EVOLUTION OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN TURKEY: AN EXAMINATION OF THE AKP'S ROLE
Keywords:Imam Hatip Schools, Evolution, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Religious Education in Turkey
This article delves into the intricate relationship between Imam Hatip Schools and the strategies employed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to promote religious education in Turkey. Imam Hatip schools hold a unique position in the contemporary Muslim world, marked by their historical evolution and distinctive characteristics. The AKP, led by Erdogan, came to power in 2002, vowing to foster a "Pious Generation" through these schools, which had deviated from the secular principles established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. This article examines the multifaceted interplay of social, political, and educational developments that have shaped the current landscape of religious education in Turkey. Over the years, these religious vocational schools have undergone significant transformations, mirroring broader societal and political shifts in Turkey. By tracing the historical trajectory of Imam Hatip schools, analyzing their role within the Turkish education system, and exploring the AKP's strategies to enhance their influence, this article seeks to provide insights into the intricate dynamics at the confluence of religion and politics in contemporary Turkey.