Stereotypical terms of minorities in school books have been reportedly removed. DHA Photo
Racist terms set to be excluded from books
The Turkish Ministry of Education announces they have edited and removed some problematic descriptions used for Syriacs and Armenians in textbooks. Syriacs earlier complained of terms such as ‘back-stabbing rebels’.
by Vercihan Ziflioğlu. ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, August 1, 2012.
The Turkish Ministry of Education has announced that it will remove a number of discriminatory terms for ethnic groups, including Armenians and Syriacs, from history books used in high school classes.
In a written statement announced by the Board of Education and Discipline, the Ministry said phrases such as “Syriacs betrayed their country” were not actually used in course books, however adding that there were some problematic descriptions in the texts.
“There is no expression saying ‘Syriacs betrayed the state’ in the history books of primary, secondary and high schools. In a text titled ‘The Situation of Syriacs in Ottoman Empire,’ in The National Education Ministry’s 10th grade history books, the expressions used for Syriacs and Armenians have been edited and will be represented in the new edition, which will be printed in 2012,” the statement read.
The offensive terms to be removed include descriptions of these groups as “back-stabbing rebels,” “puppets of European states,” and “stooges.”
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Mardin deputy Erol Dora, who is of Syriac ethnic origin, had earlier met with Education Minister Ömer Dinçer regarding the books in question, which were published in 2009.
In the meeting, Dora expressed his discomfort with the language used in the books, and requested that the hostile terms be removed. Dinçer told Dora that the books had not been published during his term in office, and that he was also uncomfortable with some of the language used.
Board of Education and Discipline head Professor Emin Karip worked to resolve the issue, and the Education Ministry announced its decision to remove the offensive terms on July 20.
An official document obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News says that phrases such as “Syriacs betrayed their country” were not actually used in course books.
However, the document does state that a text titled “The Situation of Syriacs in the Ottoman Empire,” included in 10th-grade high school history books, is problematic. The expressions found in it, as well as others, will be removed for the next school year, the document states. The document has also reached Dora’s office, he said, speaking to the Daily News, but he added he did not want to comment on the subject before seeing the new books.
“All citizens of the Turkish Republic must be equal,” Dora said. “If we want equality in the strict sense, we must raise our children as individuals who are respectful of human rights and have a sense of justice. This is possible through school education.”
Although Turkey faces many democratic problems, including minority issues and the Kurdish problem, it has made great progress on these issues, reaching a point incomparable to the situation of 15 years ago, Dora said.
“The world is changing, and it is impossible for Turkey to lag behind these changes. Positive changes are occurring; a new platform of discussion has emerged. Also, demands for democracy and human rights are being clearly expressed,” Dora said.
Board of Education and Discipline head Karip, meanwhile, declined to comment on the announcement.
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.