President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday said he will change the curriculum at schools and rewrite Turkey’s glorious past in textbooks, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Speaking to young people from 81 provinces at the presidential palace in Ankara, Erdoğan said: “We will rearrange our curriculum. We will mention our glorious history in books as it was.”
“Now you will make reforms and revolutions. You will show the world how strong the Turkish nation is,” added Erdoğan.
Erdoğan’s statement came amid debates that the Turkish government is trying to reinvent the Ottoman past for its political agenda.
Political Islamists accused the elites who established Turkish Republic of smearing Turkey’s Ottoman past.
The Turkish public has recently seen harsh criticism of Atatürk and his family by pro-Erdoğan historians.
On May 7, the reinvention of the Ottoman Empire’s founding era, which has been promoted by President Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in recent years through various means including a TV series, reached new heights with the installation of an “honor guard” at the tomb of Ertuğrul Gazi, father of Osman Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, in Bilecik province.
The reinvention of the past became visible when soldiers in clothing representing the 16 Turkish states in history appeared on the steps of Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara, on Jan 12, 2015, during a visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Diriliş: Ertuğrul,” a historical Turkish adventure series on the founding era of the Ottoman Empire, has been aired on state-run TRT since Dec. 10, 2014 and is one of President Erdoğan’s favorites.
Last year talk show host Okan Bayülgen, who during an awards ceremony mocked “Diriliş: Ertuğrul,” was fired from Kanal D, a TV station operating under the Doğan Media Group.
Bayülgen, known for his oddball personality and mocking of celebrities, had made fun of Best Serial award winner “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” during the Pantene Golden Butterfly awards ceremony on Nov. 14, following which the team returned the award to the organizers.
After the incident, Erdoğan targeted the show’s organizers and Bayülgen, who had said he never watched “Diriliş: Ertuğrul.”
Erdoğan has been hosting foreign leaders in Ottoman palaces in İstanbul in recent years.
Ottoman symbols have also been frequently seen in recent years in Turkey as many social media users depict Erdoğan as an Ottoman sultan.