Turkey’s science watchdog recalls 50,000 books for possible destruction
Sevin Turan / Erdinç Çelikkan – ANKARA
Picture taken from TÜBİTAK websiteThe Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has recalled 50,000 books that it has published in Turkey, vowing to destroy any that do not meet the criteria of “localness and cultural coherence.”
After the recall, the watchdog’s editorial board will decide on which books to destroy for not being in line with what it deems to be Turkey’s national culture.
TÜBİTAK passed a regulation amendment in 2014 that allowed it to monitor popular science books translated into Turkish in terms of these criteria.
In line with the amendment, popular science books for children and young people will be reevaluated and the books that do not meet the criteria will be destroyed.
The fate of some 50,000 books collected so far in 2015 is not yet clear. Those that are not destroyed and which are deemed suitable by the board will be given back to bookstores.
According to the new regulation, this practice will continue every year for all popular science books translated and published by TÜBİTAK.
Among the books recalled from the market so far are books for children aged three years and older. Once these are inspected by TÜBİTAK for their “suitability for Turkish culture,” the board will then check books published for older children.
TÜBİTAK has already decided to cancel publication of the children’s book “Gökkuşağının Tüm Renkleri” (The Colors of the Rainbow), which praises the benefits of cultural diversity. The book, written by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, was translated into Turkish and illustrated by Marta Fabrega.
In one part of the book, it says different people celebrate special holidays, giving the examples of birthdays, Ramadan, Christmas, and Hanukah.
In the book’s introduction, it says it contains an important lesson for every boy and girl to understand: “When people of different races and ethnic backgrounds come together, they form the most magnificent sight - a rainbow.”
“Children should celebrate and appreciate their own and other people’s differences. Above all, they should come together like the colors of the rainbow,” it also says.