Turkish Intellectuals Condemn Anti-Armenian Textbooks

The cover page of Unit 2 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk.

ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman)—A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include “open hatred and hostility” towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks, which were recently exposed by the newspapers Agos and Taraf.

The two newspapers recently published reports on hateful remarks targeting Armenians in the textbooks used in history classes.

A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace.

The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups, Akçam said. He further wrote: “Standing with integrity in the face of history is the prerequisite for establishing the future on the foundations of friendship and peace. I do hope that this signature campaign will be taken as a scream from all of us for the publication of textbooks that we would like to see.”

An image of page 23 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. The section deals with 1915, and alleges that Armenians committed massacres against innocent Turkish women and children, while Turkish men were fighting on the fronts.

The statement said: “The revolutions history and history textbooks should be collected immediately, with an apology issued to everyone and particularly to Armenian students. This is where the path to Turkish-Armenian peace lies, at this time when we are approaching 2015.” Revolutions history classes teach students the reforms carried out by the first government of Turkey after the end of the Ottoman Empire.

The signatories include some of Turkey’s most respected writers and journalists. The full list of the supporters of the statement is as follows: Adalet Ağaoğlu, Ahmet Altan, Ahmet Hakan, Ahmet İnsel, Ali Bayramoğlu, Ali Nesin, Asaf Savaş Akat, Aydın Engin, Ayhan Aktar, Ayşe Günaysu, Ayşe Hür, Baskın Oran, Bekir Ağırdır, Betül Tanbay, Bülent Bilmez, Bülent Keneş, Cafer Solgun, Cemal Uşak, Cengiz Aktar, Daron Acemoğlu, Defne Asal, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, Deniz Türkali, Edhem Eldem, Elçin Macar, Emel Kurma, Emine Uçak Erdoğan, Eren Keskin, Erol Katırcıoğlu, Fatih Akın, Ferhat Kentel, Fikret Adanır, Fuat Keyman, Gülten Kaya, Hadi Uluengin, Halil Berktay, Halil Ergün, Hasan Cemal, Hidayet Şefkatli Tuksal, İbrahim Betil, İhsan Eliaçık, İhsan Yılmaz, İsmet Berkan, İştar Gözaydın, Kemal Burkay, Kenan Çayır, Kutluğ Ataman, Leyla Neyzi, Mehmet Altan, Murat Belge, Murat Morova, Nilüfer Göle, Niyazi Kızılyürek, Oktay Özel, Oral Çalışlar, Orhan Pamuk, Oya Baydar, Ömer Laçiner, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Ömer Madra, Perihan Mağden, Roni Margulies, Samim Akgönül, Saruhan Oluç, Savaş Genç, Selçuk Gültaşlı, Selim Deringil, Serra Yılmaz, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Seyfettin Gürsel, Sinan Çetin, Soli Özel, Şahin Alpay, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem İşigüzel, Taner Akçam, Tarık Ziya Ekinci, Temel İskit, Tilbe Saran, Turgay Oğur, Ufuk Uras, Uğur Kömeçoğlu, Umut Özkırımlı, Ümit Kardaş, Ümit Kıvanç, Üstün Ergüder, Vedat Türkali, Yasemin Çongar, Yavuz Baydar, Zeynep Direk and Zeynep Tanbay.


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  1. Armenian said:

    I am stunned at the courage many of these Turks have. May God grant them safety as they continue to be conscious whisperers in an increasingly maniacal and hysterical choir of xenophobes.

    Although this is a very positive first step, a lot of work remains to be done. Hopefully these actions will get the ball rolling, but given Erdogan and his frequent racist outbursts, and the positive reception he gets every time he does it, I am extremely skeptical.

  2. tommy said:

    Personally I think they are getting Turkey ready to invade Armenia. Although there are Russian troops in Armenia, Georgia may be joining NATO. This could block Russia from defending Armenia–sending troops in.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      @ tommy: Russia can’t afford not to defend Armenia, NATO after invading Armenia, they can go after Russia, saying that, it means Armenia is the line of fire.

  3. GeorgeMardig said:

    All Turks are not the same, there are also decent Turks who stand for fairness and justice.

  4. Raffi Bairamian said:

    The denial of the Armenian Genocide is a turkish state policy, and turkish officials will do anything in order to maintain this policy.One of their latest tactics is inversing the roles by turning e the perpatuators of the Genocide into victicms ( These jerks are really funny ). I thank all the courageous turks who believe in human rights and recognize the Armenian genocide.