Scholars, Activists Condemn Turkish Textbooks Vilifying Armenians

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—Turkish scholars, artists, and writers harshly condemned primary and middle school textbooks that are replete with anti-Armenian rhetoric in Turkey, and demanded that the books be pulled from circulation.

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. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
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. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

In a statement issued in late September, the signatories wrote, “After immediately pulling the ‘History’ and ‘History of the Turkish Revolution’ textbooks from circulation, apologies should be issued to all students, particularly to Armenian ones. As we approach 2015, the road to Turkish-Armenian peace that we long for passes through here.”

The textbooks portray Armenians as traitors who plotted with foreign enemies to tear apart the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, and as mass murderers of innocent Turkish and Muslim women and children while Muslim men were waging a war of survival.

The textbooks, all published over the past few years and approved by a special commission of Turkey’s Ministry of Education, are also mandatory in Armenian schools in Turkey.

The cover page of Unit 2 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
The cover page of Unit 2 of the Middle School textbook on the history of the Turkish Revolution and Ataturk. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

Two newspapers in Turkey, Agos and Taraf, had published a series of articles by Taner Akçam on the anti-Armenian hate-filled rhetoric in Turkish textbooks earlier in September.

Here is the full list of signatories: 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.


  1. My heartfelt thanks to these Turks who are willing to demonstrate integrity, decency, and courage. They remind me of those Turks, who some 100 years ago who took great risk to help Armenians.

  2. Who cares. Your talking about a culture that did nothing rape rob murder through out its whole existence.

    Armenians should portray the Turks for what they are. ALWAYS include the other victims such as the Assyrians, Kurds, and Greeks, Always dispels the “traitor” nonsense excuse with the logical conclusion that Turks must believe that all the other murdered cultures were traitors as well?

  3. rik,

    The Jews of Turkey? And what are they supposed to represent? Truthfully speaking, the Jews of Turkey represent zero. Were they subjected to genocide by the Turks? The answer is no. Were their lands stolen by the Turks? The answer is no. Did they ever have a homeland in Anatolia (present-day Turkey) before the arrival of the Turks in 1064? The answer is no. Even after the arrival of the Turks, there never was a big Jewish population in Anatolia. On the contrary, the Jews up to now, have been nothing more than a tiny, minuscule group in Anatolia.

    It’s rather absurd that you would be talking about the Jews of Turkey. What about the oppressed Palestinians of Israel, whose lands continue to be occupied by the criminal Jewish state?

  4. Whoever you are that wrote that nasty remark “who cares about Armenians”, is a total idiot without one ounce of brains because if you did and knew anything about history you would know we were the first genocide of the 20th century, and that there would not have been a Holocaust if America hd aid heed to what the Ottoman Young Turks did to the Armenians!
    When Hitler was asked by Time Magazine how he thought he could get away with what he was doing to the Jews….his comment was ‘who remembered the Armenians when the Turks were slaughtering them?”
    You whoever you are , have no heart and may God have mercy on your soul because you are going to need it!

  5. I bet most of those “Turks” are in reality Kurds, and I also bet that Turkey won’t recognized the Armenian Genocide, nor any other harm it has done to anyone, until they get a taste of their own medicine. The public is too brainwashed and too unaffected by misery to understand their past and present wrongdoings. The day the public of Turkey gets to feel just a tiny amount of what their subjects have felt throughout the years, will be enough to make them start rethinking their selfdestructive behavior and thinking.

  6. When I read disturbing articles like this, I am reminded of the convoluted, cowardly, duplicitous, and evil nature of the Turkish Government. They like to dish it out to people who cannot defend themselves but they don’t like it when they get a taste of their own medicine. It is what it is–plain and simple. They cozy up to the US and Europe and volunteer for dirty tricks (because they actually enjoy doing it!) in return for favors — political or economic. What a dirty joke on the civilized world! … Here’s a joke for you: “WHAT IS THE WORLD’S SMALLEST BOOK?” Give Up? ANSWER: “TURKISH CONTRIBUTIONS TO BENIFIT CIVILIZATION OF MANKIND”. Please do not count ‘Turkish Delight’ confectionery, bath houses, or cuisine which they stole from the Greeks and Armenians who were there long before they blundered into the area. The Turks are “Takers.” They have never made a positive contribution. Back to the punchline: “It is so small you can’t see it because it doesn’t exist” Here’s an interesting factoid: The UN asked the Turks to leave South Korea because of their brutal and uncivilized behavior to the civilian population–especially involving the forced exploitation of women (to put in mildly) IT IS TRUE!! But for those of us in the West who are in the know as well as throughout the Middle East, the Turkish Government is reviled. It is especially amusing since they support ISIS and profit from oil black market — ISIS supplied oil from IRAQ and Syria. It really makes me sick to my stomach when they are asked to join the coalition of nations to eradicate ISIS when THEY THEMSELVES are the source of the problem! Are we all that stupid??? In fact, it is well know the the Turkish Government has always supported ISIS but as thy say in Turkey:”shurla burla.” Midnight Express Quote: ” To the Turks, everything is “shurla burla”, which means “like this, like that”. You never know what will happen. All foreigners are “ayip”, they’re considered dirty. So is homosexuality, it’s a big crime here, but most of them do it every chance they get. There are about thousand things that are “ayip”, for instance, you can stab or shoot somebody below the waist but not above because that’s intent to kill. So everyone runs around stabbing everyone else in the ass. That’s what they call Turkish revenge. I know it must all sound crazy to you, but this place is crazy!”

    One more Midnight Express quote:and then I quit: “Mercy….That the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy; its sense of fair play; its sense of justice! But I guess that’s like asking a bear to shit in the toilet.” Enough said.

  7. Whoops–I forgot to add to my my previous tirade: An obscure historical footnote: Least we forget…Victory the Battle of Vienna in 1683, and in celebration, “the invention of the croissant!”

    • There were widespread instances, especially in Van, where Ottoman soldiers planted weapons in Armenian homes to back up the “Armenians are traitors collaborating with the Russians” conspiracy theory

    • Ali,
      In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million weaponless, Innocent Armenian civilians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated!

      In 1939, Germany established gun control, from 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.”

      “I love America,” he closes.

    • Ali, the first phase of the planned Armenian Genocide and theft was to UN-ARM the Armenian civilian population. The propaganda to hide their intentions started from the beginning of the plan.

  8. I want to add another, somewhat unrelated to the current topic, comment regarding the Turkish Government’s attitude to the Armenian people. The Turkish Government supports ISIS for other reasons as well: The want Bashar al-Assad to fall because his father always considered the Armenians in Syria as loyal supporters largely because they could be trusted. The Armenians in Syria were respected by Hafez al-Assad because they were considered to be ambitious, industrious, educated and smart, and most of all, because they were honest. Most of the important positions under Hafez al-Assad went to Armenians. My family came from Aleppo and Kessab and I know this is to be true. The Turkish Government was also complicit in the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor as some kind of bizarre, twisted motive for revenge against the Armenian people and also because we were powerless to prevent it. It is important to remember that there is no guarantee that Armenians and other Christian minorities will be able to flourish and be safe from persecution under the so-called moderate Rebel factions. Make no mistake about it!

  9. Gentlemen and Ladies:

    From the tone of the post, I believe (rik // September 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm // ) is being sarcastic.
    It’s a subtle dig at Jewish Denialists like Abe Foxman of ADL, who are on record denying the Armenian Genocide – and by extension endangering Armenians in Turkey – while aiding and abetting the Turkish denial machine in their worldwide AG Denial campaign.
    The ADL justification, of course, being that Jews in Turkey would be in danger if ADL did not help Turks (….and the heck with Armenians….).

    I can’t be 100% sure based on just one post, but that’s my take.

  10. {“ The first picture, “Weapons seized off Armenian Gangs”.”}
    (Ali // October 1, 2014 at 10:52 am // )


    When Nazi Germany invaded counties, in every country there rose Resistance.
    Even in France, where other than Jews, French were largely left alone, a powerful resistance rose to fight the invaders.
    Nazis tortured, murdered, killed many members of resistance, which included French Armenians, btw, but did not wholesale massacre French civilians.

    In every country Nazis, who were criminal invaders themselves, branded the Resistance ‘criminals’, ‘terrorists’, ‘gangs’, etc.
    After the war Resistance members in every invaded country were hailed as national heroes, because they were.
    Collaborators’ heads were shaved in France to publicly humiliate and shame them for aiding Nazi criminals.

    Your invadonomad ancestors, whose invasions and theft of others’ property you glowingly approved of in previous posts, were criminal invaders.
    Illegal gangs.
    Any Armenian resistance that rose, rose to prevent, to the extent possible, the extermination of Armenian civilians: women, children, babies.

    Armenians did not invite Seljuk Turks to come and rule them.
    Armenians did not vote to have Sultan Hamid be their ruler.
    Armenians did not vote in a referendum to have CUP be their elected representatives.
    Any presence of Turks in Armenian lands is, in and of itself, illegal.

    The CUP itself was regarded as an illegal gang by the internationally recognized government of the Sultan.

    In any case, we can discuss fighting and killing armed Armenian men and women in combat separately.
    But when you cross the line into murdering civilians who are not engaged in combat, and whose only ‘guilt’ is that they are Armenians – then we are done.
    Nothing more to ‘discuss’.
    Only thing left is seeking Justice for the colossal crime – Genocide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.