Turkish riot police use water cannon and teargas on hundreds of school teachers protesting in favor of secular education, some 100 teachers detained. Mana Rabiee reports.
Turkish riot police clash in Ankara with school teachers. Some seven hundred teachers take to the streets of the Turkish capitol to protest in favor of secular education. Riot police use water cannon and teargas to disperse the crowd, charging at the teachers with smoke grenades. The teachers are angry over government plans to make Ottoman, an old form of the Turkish language, mandatory in high school. It's a form of Arabic that was replaced in the 1920's with the Latin alphabet as part of Turkey's foundation as a secular Republic. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who's cast himself as a champion of the rights of the pious, wants Ottoman taught in schools so younger generations don't lose touch with their cultural heritage. But the teachers say this is just the latest in a series of panned educational reforms by the government to undermine the country's secular system. Riot police rounded up some 100 teachers during the clashes. Critics of Erdogan say he's acting like a modern-day sultan and that his Islamic ideology and intolerance of dissent is taking Turkey far away from its secular ideals.