History books to exclude discrimination

History books to exclude discrimination

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
History books to exclude discrimination

Some Turkish history books ‘inculcate enmity in children,’ Erol Dora says. DHA photo

Education Minister Ömer Dinçer has promised to alter clauses in Turkish history books that are antagonistic toward Armenians and Syriac Christians, according to Erol Dora, a deputy of Syriac origin from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). 

Dora met Dinçer on Dec. 12 to request the alteration of the clauses in question. Dinçer showed close interest in the subject, Dora said, adding that he had told the minister that the clauses against Armenians and Syriacs in school history books ran counter to the European declarations on children’s and human rights, as well as United Nations resolutions. 

“It is not only Syriacs and Armenians but also Turkish families, Kurds and the whole country that need to react to these books, which inculcate enmity in our children. This is exceedingly important for a peaceable future,” Dora recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.
 Dora also outlined the consequences of failing to remove the language from the books. “Unless the ministry takes decisive steps soon, legal action will be pursued against Turkey. The Syriac diaspora has developed into a lobby, and there is severe backlash against Turkey,” Dora said. 

Clauses involving hostility toward Armenians and Syriacs appeared relatively recently, said Dora, adding that he had not encountered history books that denigrated Syriacs and Armenians until his graduation from school in Turkey in 1973. 

“Clauses denigrating Syriacs and Armenians entered books 12 years ago. Turkey also changed its history books to propagate its own official theses of history because of lessons in history books that are taught in Armenian diaspora schools,” a minority school administrator told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. 
The Turkish school books state that the tragic events of 1915 were committed by the Armenians and that the Armenians and Syriacs initiated revolts and stabbed the Turkish military in the back, he said.
“In the past, as minority schools, we had to accept everything imposed upon us, but now we can intervene. Teachers skip those pages in history books, and we can speak to any teacher who does not comply with the rules. Despite the absence of an official directive, the Education Ministry now recognizes this right,” he said.