Publishers Union of Turkey protested upon a request by a national education ministry commission in Izmir province to censor John Steinbeck's masterpiece "Of mice and man".
"We are finding it hard to understand that actually ministry officials formed a commission to investigate the book for moral standards and then propose censorship on it," the union said in a statement. "This is another embarrassing example of the censor mentality in Turkey. And hopefully it will be the last one."
The union urged the education minister Ömer Dinçer to implement a regulation on the prevention of such absurd commissions, saying that such censor practices violated the freedom of expression.
"Steinbeck's masterpiece is actually listed among the 100 basic readings by the education ministry. It is also one of the most read novels in Turkey at all times," the union statement reminded.
The union also warned if such commissions spread around the country, it risked to create of local censorship areas for certain books. "High school students are mature enough to choose which book is good for them. They are already aware what life lessons their choices will give them."
Publishing house: No need for words
Sel Publishing House, book's contractor in Turkish, reiterated the union's protest on the censorship requested, complaining that universally acclaimed masterpieces could just be prosecuted in Turkey for "subjective moral" reasons.
"There is no need for words," the publishing house said in a statement. "The commission already identified the passage needing censorship on a "page by page" and "publisher house to publisher house" manner. The identified passages have been submitted to ministry's support service unit." (YY)
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