İzmir's private Yamanlar, Ankara's private Samanyolu and İstanbul's Fatih colleges all left their mark on the 20th National Antalya Mathematics Science Olympiad, organized for primary and secondary schools by Akdeniz University and held on May 3 and 4.
Yamanlar College ranked first among all competing schools, winning five gold medals, six silver and eight bronze. Attended by 700 students across the country, Samanyolu College won four gold and two silver medals, while Fatih College followed Samanyolu with two gold medals, one silver and one bronze in the math olympiad.
Akdeniz University Rector İsrafil Kurtcephe and İlham Aliyev, the university's foreman, gave out the medals at the competition's award ceremony, which took place at the university.
Yüksel Demir, one of the teachers of the winning students, said at the ceremony that these students are also representing Turkey abroad at the national team and they are also winners of numerous similar competitions organized by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). He added: "I congratulate all of them on their achievements."
However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has conducted a smear campaign against the private schools on the grounds that they are linked to the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan has falsely accused the movement of plotting against and trying to bring down himself and the government.
Erdoğan has claimed that the movement is behind the revelation of the Dec. 17, 2013 graft scandal, which implicated high-ranking government officials, former ministers and Erdoğan's inner circle, and launched a witch-hunt to eliminate all institutions linked to the movement.
Numerous foreign countries also host Turkish schools affiliated with the Gülen movement and Erdoğan's repeated calls for the closure of these foreign schools have fallen on deaf ears and been rejected.
Erdoğan's unrelenting denunciation of such schools and calls over the past two years for their break up are yet to yield any results. The schools are considered a source of national pride because of their contribution to improved educational chances to students in many countries such as Africa and Central Asia.
Published on Today's Zaman, 06 May 2015, Wednesday