Turkey’s Education Ministry has removed 301,878 books from schools across the country so far and destroyed them as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown on the Gulen movement.
In response to a parliamentary question by an opposition deputy, Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said the ministry blacklisted 301,878 copies of books at its local offices, schools and school libraries, and destroyed them, Hurriyet daily newspaper reported Friday.
The books were subject to investigations because they were published by the publishing houses that were closed with government’s post-coup decrees. Destroyed books include textbooks, fictions, history books and so on.
Turkish government accuses Fethullah Gülen and his followers of leading the July 15, 2016 while the cleric denies involvement. A post-coup crackdown that first started against Gülen’s movement has spread to hit all opposition circles, leading to closure of hundreds of schools, publishing houses, newspapers and media outlets.
Textbooks banned over Gülen’s initials
Back in 2016, a mathematics textbook was banned at a school just because it features Fethullah Gülen’s initials in a practice question that reads: ‘… from point F to point G ….’
Late in 2016, Birgun daily reported that the ministry also destroyed at least 1.8 million copies of textbooks that mention the word “Pennsylvania,” and those that include texts from government-targeted journalists. The newspaper added that the ministry destroyed the books at the beginning of the school year and introduced revised editions without the unwanted word “Pennsylvania” in the text.
The objectionable textbook for sixth graders reportedly refers to American author James Michener, who mentioned Pennsylvania as his place of birth. Michener’s text was censored only because Gülen lives in that same US state. The number of destroyed 6th-grade-textbooks amounted to 882,000, the daily said.
In addition to anything that could remind people of Gülen, critical journalist Can Dündar’s name has also been removed from textbooks in Turkey. Officials from the Education Ministry reportedly said they simply did not want any text by Dündar, who has been directly targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and labeled a “terrorist,” to appear in textbooks.
Ali Çolak, a former Zaman columnist and the editor of the now-shut-down paper’s culture section, was also deemed unwanted in Turkey’s textbooks. A text by Çolak in eighth grade textbooks was removed.
The names of both Çolak and Dündar appeared at Turkish literature textbooks for 8th graders and the number of copies destroyed for this reason numbers 895,335.
Turkish police have, on multiple occasions, displayed seized copies of Gülen’s books as terror evidence over the past year.
Also, license plates including the letters “FG” were removed from vehicles belonging to the Denizli Courthouse in August 2016.