3 associations representing Turkey's biggest unions in education, writing and moviemaking organized a panel yesterday to discuss the AKP government's recent censor practices on classic literature pieces such as Oscar Wilde's Happy Prince and John Steinback's Of Mice and Men.
"The government aims to give the society a more islamic identity by censuring classic literature works," Ünsal Yıldız, chairperson of Egitim-Sen, Turkey's Education and Science Workers Union, said.
Reminding the early AKP government promises to transform Turkey into a more transparent and pluralist society, Yıldız claimed that AKP finally showed its real colors.
"It is not only about censor," Yıldız continued. "The government is putting pressure on every opposing opinion. We are experiencing laid-off in major newspapers. The purpose behind all these practices is to flourish political Islam in Turkey's mainstream culture.
Yıldız further claimed that several classic literature works have been edited to sound more islamic.
"From Oscar Wilde to Leo Tolstoy, Heidi and Pinnochio. We see this even in cartoons. This reminds us of the military coup days in 1980 where teachers were facing investigations for what they used in their curriculum. As the union, we stronglyencourage our teacher members to keep 'state-censord' classic literature pieces in their curriculum with the original version."
Köz: They see literature as adversary
Writers Union of Turkey chairperson Mustafa Köz described the government's censor practices as "black humor".
"We have a government that sees writers and literatures as adversary," he said. "They want to form a new society by putting a barrier between people and literature. We won't let that happen."
Poet Ataol Behramoğlu from Moviemakers Labor Union of Turkey also supported the panel, saying that making interventions on literary works would severely damage its quality. (EA/BM)