“The move was seen by German politicians as part of a larger change under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan away from secularism across Turkey.”
“German school in Istanbul cancels Christmas,” DW, December 18, 2016:
Berlin expressed its dismay on Sunday that a German high school in Istanbul had canceled its Christmas celebrations.
“We do not understand the surprising decision of the leadership at Istanbul Lisesi,” said the foreign ministry. “It is a great pity that the good tradition of the intercultural exchange in the pre-Christmas period was suspended at a school with a long history of German-Turkish” friendship, the government said.
The elite high school was founded more than a century ago, employs around 35 German teachers and is co-financed by German public funds. Each December, the school has a small celebration for Christmas and teaches pupils about the holiday. One week after the school’s choir was prevented from singing at the German consulate in Istanbul, they canceled the festivities.
“Completely unacceptable,” said Frank Josef Jung, a lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who is in charge of religious issues. “If Germany is financing the teachers at this school, it has a say in what they teach,” said Jung, “and the government needs to make that clear to Ankara.”
The move was seen by German politicians as part of a larger change under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan away from secularism across Turkey. One German lawmaker, Sevim Dagdelen of the opposition Left party, even went so far as to call the decision at the school a sign of “Islamic dictatorship” in Turkey….