Evolution theory no longer part of Turkish curriculum, official says

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People take a selfie while visiting the mausoleum of founder of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara during a ceremony marking the 78th anniversary of his death on November 10, 2016. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today hailed the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on the 78th anniversary of his death but added the country's influence should go well beyond the borders of the state he created. Ataturk, who died on November 10, 1938, founded Turkey as a secular republic in 1923 out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and defeat in World War I. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey’s Board of Education and Discipline Chairman Alpaslan Durmuş has said chapters on evolution are being removed from ninth grade biology textbooks and that a greater emphasis would be placed on the contributions of Muslim and Turkish scientists, adding that history classes would also move away from a “Euro-centric” approach.

According to a story on the Guardian website on Friday, Durmuş said in a video released on the Education Ministry website on Wednesday, “We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension.”

Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism, according to Durmuş.

The Guardian underlined that critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has Islamist roots, believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

According to the secular opposition, the AKP and its chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values.

The changes were based on a broad public consultation in which parents and the public played a key role, Durmuş said.

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