Cyprus: English textbook with reference to Kemal Ataturk as Turkey’s greatest hero withdrawn

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The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth has decided to temporarily withdraw the Oxford Discover Futures Level 3 English textbook. Of Cyprus, which in a relevant announcement speaks of “inappropriate and unacceptable excerpt” included in the book.

The decision came after it was found on page 36 of the book in reference to Turkish military and leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk entitled: “Turkey’s greatest hero”. On the same page there were references to the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who are presented as “heroes of the art world”.

The text on Ataturk states: “He showed leadership skills from a very young age, attended a military academy and then joined the army as a general. When his country went to war, he was brave in battle but never reckless. When he helped establish the modern country of Turkey, he was a moral leader who stood by the people. He was selfless in his work to create a new democracy. “

“Tear the page from the book”

Teachers say they received instruction via email such as remove (tear) the page in question before it is distributed to students.

A few hours later, the Ministry of Education issued the following announcement: “Just yesterday, a reference was found to a textbook of English used in the B ‘Lyceum, through which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is praised and promoted as a model of” leadership “.

The name of Ataturk and the Neo-Turks is synonymous with crimes such as the Armenian Genocide, which is unequivocally condemned by our country as well as by major democracies such as the United States, France and many others. As even with the genocide of the Pontians and Assyrians, but also the criminal “liquidation” of Hellenism in Smyrna and elsewhere.

Therefore, it is not possible to accept in the textbooks reports that promote or even praise his personality and “leadership”. Much more in view of the anniversary, in 2022, 100 years since the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the persecutions against Hellenism.

The modern school, which is based on respect for human rights and the rights of peoples, does not compromise with attempts to embellish such historical crimes. Moreover, the English language course is not offered nor is it expected to cover such topics or to have room for critical analysis.

Regardless of the public comments that were heard today or the tendencies of some indiscriminate and / or superficial “internationalism”, the education of semi-occupied Cyprus does not include ignoring or even indirectly accepting Turkey’s heinous historical crimes against the peoples of the region.

For these reasons, the book, in relation to this completely inappropriate and unacceptable – even regional – excerpt, is deemed unsuitable and is temporarily withdrawn until a solution is given “.

The issue will be personally undertaken by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth of Cyprus, Prodromos Prodromou, when he returns from Greece where he is.

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