Contrary to the by-laws of the Parliament, AKP snuck a rider to the Education Reform bill that exempts up to US$20 billion of tenders under the aegis of Fatih Project, an ambitious project to give each school student a free PC tablet. Kilicdaroglu claimed the exemptions will pave the way to the greatest embezzlement disasters in the Turkish history:
Turkey’s contentious education bill would lay the ground for large-scale corruption in the procurement of tablet PCs under an ambitious government project, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday.
A provision in the bill would effectively exempt the so-called FATİH project, under which the government would buy millions of tablet PCs, from the Public Tenders Law, Kılıçdaroğlu said speaking in İzmir yesterday. The amendment to explicitly mention Quranic studies as an elective course was designed deliberately to divert attention from that clause, he claimed.
“They are covering up a theft of $20 billion dollars and to do so they are using our holy book, the Quran, as a tool. Why is a tender worth $20 billion being included in this bill and not in the Public Tenders Law? And when we raise objections to it, Tayyip Erdoğan will say that we are against the Quran,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP is not opposed to religious education, but argued that educators should have been involved in the process of drafting the bill. “The CHP has never made faith a cover for corruption,” he said. “We are not against religious education. We respect our beliefs, but what kind of a religious education will our children receive? Of course, we would provide [religious instruction] in line with education experts, but the CHP has never used faith as a cover for corruption. [The CHP] strives not to fill its own pockets but to serve the people.”