Reference of Genocide to be Included in Turkish Textbooks

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Reference of Genocide to be Included in Turkish Textbooks

ANKARA--The Republic of Turkey's Education Ministry recently announced that elementary-level history textbooks will, for the first time, include reference to the genocide committed against the Ottoman-Armenians. The textbooks, however, will include both, what Turkey refers to, the "Armenian version" of the genocide, and an "official" government sanctioned version of the events.

The chairman of the Education Ministry's committee on textbooks, Moustafa Safran, explained that the inclusion of the genocide arose from the fact that Armenians have insisted that the events that occurred between 1915-1923 qualify as "genocide." In order to address the issue, Safran said, the committee decided to include both the Armenian and Turkish perspectives--a move allowing students the information necessary to form an educated opinion--according to the committee.

Safran noted his committee realizes that it is impossible nowadays to shield Turkish school children from "Armenian claims," and that it is their intention to bolster the government's position on the issue by including archival Ottoman documents, which reportedly prove that the genocide never occurred.

Safran's committee has also decided to exclude incendiary remarks such as "we crushed the Greeks," and be particular in its definitions of "heroes" and "traitors." Textbooks will note that numerous Kurdish tribes assisted Mustafa Kemal's efforts in establishing a "modern" Turkey.