Turkey investigates why school pupils were shown footage of ex-PM's hanging
Turkey’s Education Ministry is investigating how animated footage of the execution of a former prime minister was shown to children as part of their homeschooling during the coronavirus outbreak, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said on March 24.
Students started home classes on March 23 after a week off school as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus, which has killed 44 people in Turkey.
An online teaching platform and three TV channels for primary, middle and high school students were set up to provide lessons at home.
But the channel for middle school students aged 12-15 broadcast an animated recreation of former premier Adnan Menderes being hanged, angering critics who said the subject was unsuitable for children and served ideological purposes.
The ministry has started an investigation into what Selçuk described as "a mistake" committed by officials rushing to prepare the material.
“There are documentaries between lessons. We are working into the night and there was an error with labeling,” he said in an interview with HaberGlobal television channel.
Oppositional parties slammed the government, saying showing such images to children is "pedagogically unacceptable."
“How can you explain death to such small children through an execution?” the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Seyit Torun said in a tweet.
The clip showed a noose being put over Menderes' neck, a stool being kicked out from underneath him and then his feet hanging below, as a narrator recaps the events.
Menderes, leader of the now-defunct Democrat Party (DP) and Turkey’s first democratically-elected prime minister, was hung by the military junta after the 1960 coup d’état, along with two other cabinet members, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Hasan Polatkan.
The junta at the time claimed that Menderes and his friends had created a system of one-party rule and steered the country away from its Kemalist roots and principals.