ASIA/TURKEY – In school books Christian communities portrayed as tools of foreign powers against the Ottoman empire

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ankara (Agenzia Fides) – 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 text books listed on the website of Ministry of Education for use in primary and secondary schools in Turkey for this new school year which just started. In particular, one history book for use in Grade 8 classes presents the pressure exercised by Britain and Russian 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 – said a dossier consulted by Fides – 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” we read in a passage of the book “was efficacious with Armenian, Greek, Nestorian, Chaldean and Melkite communities, despite its weak effect on the Syrian community ”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 15/9/2014).