TUBİTAK removes children’s book from shelves

The move is seen as the continuation of pressure applied by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government on society’s preferences and way of life.

According to the Hurriyet daily’s news report, TUBİTAK recently recalled over 50,000 books from bookshops to review whether the books fit within its criteria.

In its first examination, TUBİTAK decided that “Gokkusagının Tum Renkleri” (All Colors of the Rainbow), written for 3-year-old children, did violate its criteria and decided that it should be removed from shelves and subsequently destroyed, the report noted.

This process will be followed for other children’s books prepared for those over the age of 5, 6 and 7.

In the initial stage of the examination, it is books written by foreign authors that will be reviewed first to see whether they comply with the institution’s standards. If they fail to meet these standards the books are to be destroyed.

TUBİTAK is currently examining the books “Haydi Ogrenelim: Ne, Neden Yapılmıstır,” “Uzuntuden Mutluluga Duygularınız,” “Gokyuzu Ne Kadar Yuksek,” “Bir Milyon Ne Kadar Buyuk,” among thousands of others.

TUBİTAK President Arif Ergin, who previously sent a letter to Yenicag daily columnist Arslan Bulut, announced that the institution has removed “Gokkusagının Tum Renkleri” from bookstores due to concerns.

Prior to the letter, Bulut published an article in which he complained about the book in question, arguing that it contained pictures and drawings propagating Christianity and Judaism, as well as Zionism.

In response to the criticism, Ergin said in his letter to Bulut: “I share your concerns and view. Fifty thousand books have been removed from shelves in 2015. TUBİTAK is continuing to review many other published children’s books to determine whether they are in compliance with local values.”

TUBİTAK has long been the focus of criticism due to the fact that it has turned into an implementer of the government’s controversial practices, exemplified by former TUBİTAK Vice President Hasan Palaz being forced by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to forge official documents linked to a bugging device. The bugging device was allegedly found in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office in 2011.

In addition, the institution’s credibility and prestige were recently dented by a scandal in which a high-ranking official involved in the hiring process employed someone who held a fake university diploma.

Since the country’s worst-ever corruption scandal became public on Dec. 17, 2013, the AK Party government and Erdogan have continued a campaign to stamp out all dissenting voices by intervening in the judiciary, the economy sector and in cultural and social movements in an effort to subordinate them to their ill-intentioned practices through intimidation operations, investigations and detentions.


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