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German School In Turkey Bans Teachers From Even Mentioning Christmas

REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

A school in Istanbul financed by the German government has informed teachers that traditional Christmas celebrations have been canceled.

Management at the elite high school has informed teachers that they can’t even mention the topic of Christmas, according to a leaked email from school management seen by news agency DPA. The move was immediately criticized by the German government, which called the decision “completely unacceptable.”

“If Germany is financing the teachers at this school, it has a say in what they teach, and the government needs to make that clear to Ankara,” Christian Democratic Union’s lawmaker specializing in religious issues said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Several politicians believe the decision is tied to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reforms to making Turkey more Islamic.

The school usually hosts a small celebration for teachers and students during the holidays. The student choir was recently blocked from performing at the German consulate in Istanbul.

“We do not understand the surprising decision of the leadership at Istanbul Lisesi,” the German foreign ministry said in a statement. “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.”

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