Monday, December 19, 2016

Outrage in Berlin as German-funded school in Turkey ‘bans mention of Christmas’

Berlin says it'd raise a “completely unacceptable” issue with Ankara after reports emerged that teachers at elite gymnasium in Istanbul, co-funded by the German government, were ordered to stop telling students anything about Christmas rites. The school denies the accusation.

“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 tradition,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, referring to the claims by German teachers in the prestigious Lisesi High School, which is supported by the German government.

The teachers said that they were reprimanded by the school’s Turkish administration for bringing up Christmas-related topics in class.

The email, sent by the German staff of the school, who are subordinate to the Turkish administration, was seen by DPA news agency. It says that “it ensues from the notice of the Turkish administration, that from now on nothing should be told,worked on as well as sung, about the Christmas traditions and the Christian festival in the classroom.”

Shortly after the memo was leaked to the media, the incident threatened to spiral into a full-fledged diplomatic row as the school’s conduct caused a stir in the German media and provoked sharp criticism from an array of high-ranking officials........

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