Outcry over Dutch textbook defaming Turkey


A textbook for middle-school students in the Netherlands drew the ire of the Turkish community for its content defaming Turkey.

“I am a Kurd. Turkish police hate Kurds. We are arbitrarily arrested and tortured,” a character named Mehran says in one cartoon under a section in the book on the subject of Turkey’s European Union membership process.

Another character named Mehmet speaks how a mayor in the western Turkish city of İzmir was “building a house in the plot of land he had to sell after the municipality did not give him a building permit.”

A Turkish teacher noticed the expressions deemed insulting when a student of his brought the textbook to the school. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), teacher Şenol Büyükbaş said the book seeks to impose an anti-Turkish attitude to children by “exposing them to lies.”

Durmuş Doğan, head of a Turkish businessperson’s association, said teaching inaccurate information on Turkey to children was “a negative development” for the Turkish community in the Netherlands. Murat Gedik, head of the Netherlands’ Turkish Federation, said they were worried by “the attempt to insult Turks and Turkish state.”

“The government should take action. This is a direct attack on the Turkish nation and the state. They have a subconscious motive of making students hostile to Turks,” he said.

Michiel Bugter, an official from Malmberg publishing house that published the book said the examples in the book were “fictional,” adding that they would more careful in next editions of the book.

The publisher declined to talk about the current edition. Aicha Lubbinge, spokesperson for Dutch Ministry of Education said schools were free to choose their own curriculum.

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