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Turkish School Books Still Portray Christian Communities as Tools of Foreign Powers

Armenian genocide poster

Nare Mnatsakanyan

Agenzia Fides - published on 09/21/14 - updated on 06/07/17

With Centennial of Armenian Genocide Approaching, Does History Need Correction?

Ankara — Some history books in use in Turkey today, when narrating the end of the Ottoman Empire and the Kemal revolution, still describe the Armenians and other Christian communities as enemy forces at the service of foreign powers, starting with Russia and England.

This was revealed by the Armenian magazine Agos, after consultation of textbooks listed on the website of the Ministry of Education for use in primary and secondary schools in Turkey for the school year which just started.

In particular, one history book for use in Grade 8 classes presents the pressure exercised by Britain and Russia on Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire as a factor which unleashed action against the Armenians portrayed as “necessary deportation” and never as massacres.

The only Christian minority spared negative reference is the Syrian community. All the others are described as tools of foreign powers intent on provoking the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

“The politics of states in conflict, aiming for the demolition of the Ottoman Empire,” reads a passage of one book, “was efficacious with Armenian, Greek, Nestorian, Chaldean and Melkite communities, despite its weak effect on the Syrian community.”

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