World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey's President Abdullah Gul signed into law a controversial government bill closing all private tutoring centers, dershanes, by September 2015.
The bill had been approved by the Turkish parliament on Feb. 28 and was awaiting ratification.
According to the new law, dershanes will be allowed to operate until September 1, 2015, before being converted into conventional private schools by June 2019.
Dershanes have been highly popular in Turkey for more than 10 years as an educational aid to help students prepare for high school and university entrance exams.
They have also attracted frequent media attention, as a substantial number of them are run by a movement headed by Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Gulen is accused by the government of masterminding an illegal group nestled within key institutions of the state such as the police and the judiciary.
The group - dubbed as "parallel state" - is allegedly behind a number of operations which the Turkish government has said had damaged its reputation over the last three years.
The Turkish government announced plans last November to eradicate dershanes.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the state schools would provide extra tutoring to students for free on weekends.Last Mod: 12 Mart 2014, 21:54