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Ataturk’s legacy sparks dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkey

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – The withdrawal of a Greek Cypriot high school class book over a disputed reference to modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on Thursday sparked a war of words between Turkey and the ministry Ethnically Divided Island Nation Education.

The Greek Cypriot Ministry of Education this week withdrew the book used to teach English in grade 11 as it said it was too laudatory in its praise of Ataturk, saying his legacy was marred by “crimes against entire peoples “.

The book was officially withdrawn after English teachers were hastily warned to “tear the page off” with the book’s reference to Ataturk. This sparked a wave of denunciations on social media and elsewhere criticizing the censorship ministry.

The ministry defended its decision, insisting the book is available for free in Cyprus, but that doesn’t mean it should be used to teach English.


“It is not possible that the books used for teaching in our schools present Kemal Atatürk as the paradigm of a moral leader who” has benefited the people “,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “Because, as is well known, Atatürk and the Young Turks are responsible for crimes against people like the Armenian genocide, Pontian Greeks, Assyrians.”

Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the book’s withdrawal “reveals the radical level of the distorted mentality of the Greek Cypriot administration towards Turkey” and that the Greek Cypriots “do not have the tolerance” to live with the Cypriots. Turkish.

Separatist Turkish Cypriots called the decision “another example of the racist stance of the Greek Cypriot administration” and “a reflection of the increasingly hostile behavior” of the Greek Cypriot side who “cannot tolerate Turkish existence on the island and cannot digest the glorious history of the Turkish nation.

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