Photo Credit: World Humanitarian Summit via Flickr
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A watchdog group that monitors the content of school textbooks in Turkey has raised the alert over the content seen in the publications this time around.

Under the rule of Islamic hardliner President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “Jihad war has been introduced” and turned into the “new normal” with martyrdom in battle glorified, according to the study findings, entitled “The Erdogan Revolution in the Turkish Curriculum Textbooks” published Thursday by IMPACT-se.


“Jihad war has been introduced into textbooks and turned into the “new normal,” with martyrdom in battle glorified, the study says. “Ethno-nationalist religious objectives, manifested in neo-Ottomanism and pan-Turkism are taught. Thus, Islam is depicted as a political matter, with science and technology used to advance its goals.”

Jews and Christians – who once were referred to as “People of the Book” – are now labeled “infidels,” the study found, in addition to adopting an anti-American stance while “displaying sympathy for the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

“The curriculum coveys subtle anti-democratic messaging, describing former political allies as terrorists, and suggesting that civil activism—such as the Gezi Park protests — is manipulated by suspect capitalist and foreign powers.

“Some anti-Christian and anti-Jewish sentiment has been introduced; in both cases the pejorative “infidels” is used, rather than the traditional term, “People of the Book,” writes Mark Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se.

“The curriculum demonizes Zionism and verges on antisemitic messaging by describing some Jewish schools in post-WWI Turkey as hostile to the country’s independence.”

However, “Conversely, respect is shown for the Jewish civilization and the Hebrew language. For the first time, there is mention, albeit brief, of the Holocaust, including Auschwitz, the gas chambers, death squads, as well as the widespread killing of Jews, Roma and others (six million “victims”).”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.