Book given to Turkish elementary students raises eyebrows over controversial remarks on women
ISTANBULThe Education Ministry has ordered for the recall of a book distributed to elementary school students after a debate was stirred over its content that included insulting remarks against women.
The book “Flower Garden” was handed out to fourth grade students in a school in Istanbul’s Esenler district as a part of a project called “One Book, One World.”
The book tells the story of a peaceful forest governed by lions, in which hyenas are preparing to stage a coup.
A conversation between hyenas in the story discusses giving women “complete freedom” in order to make them “consider themselves equal to males” and harm the community.
“They would want to work the hardest jobs. They would not find time for their families. They would not even want to start a family. Even if they did, they would not want to reproduce because they would not be able to take care of their children,” a hyena says.
The book also includes negative stereotypes about artists.
“We will make them famous and rich under the name ‘artist.’ We will give them alcohol and drugs and show this situation as normal. We will applaud them for hanging around with each other and switching partners frequently. They will then turn other youngsters into ‘empty heads,’” says one of the plotting hyenas.
Education Minister Nabi Avcı has ordered for the books to be recalled after an investigation was launched into the commission that approved their distribution.
Şükrü Şumnu, the author of the book and a lecturer at Fatih Sultan Mehmet University’s Architecture Department, has defended his book.
“I wrote the book for kids. It is a children’s story like the Lion King. The story takes place in the animal world. Such exaggerations are used in children stories,” Şumnu said.