On February 10, 2012, right after Prime Minister Erdogan's statement about the government's desire to raise a religious youth, the Istanbul branches of Education and Science Workers' Union (Egitim-Sen) held a press conference in which they expressed that Erdogan's statement was discriminatory but not unexpected. "A look at the educational policies of the government already displays the tendency to raise a religious youth", says Barış Uluocak, Branch President of Egitim-Sen. "Hence", he continues, "for those who follow these policies closely, Erdogan's statement is nothing more than a public announcement of what has already been known".
According to the news portal Bianet, indicating "that the prime minister's education projects were used as tools to design a religious social life, Uluocak noted the following examples:
* By splitting compulsory education into three periods of four years, Religious Vocational Schools can be chosen after fourth grade in primary school.
* The strategic plan 2012-2016 of the Department of Religious Affairs includes an article on 'efforts to develop pilgrimage services for students'. The department will play a more dominant role in education and training services.
* A Provincial National Education Director awarded the Director of a Counselling and Research Centre who gives pedagogic seminars to parents during the Friday prayer.
* The intent to do activities related to the Week of the Holy Birth in schools within the Values Education Project of the National Education Ministry (MEB).
* In the scope of the Progressive Project on Absenteeism (ADEY) of the MEB, the delegation going to the homes of absent students also includes persons on religious duties.
* The Istanbul Provincial National Education Directorate organized a writing project for all schools to choose writers close to the religious community."