Turkey halts controversial Armenia documentary distribution to schools

Turkey halts controversial Armenia documentary distribution to schools

Turkey's Education Ministry has halted the distribution of a controversial documentary about the Armenian issue to all elementary schools after its move incited fierce reactions among academics and intellectuals. (UPDATED)

The ministry had distributed "Sarı Gelin -- The True Face of the Armenian Question," a documentary film developed by the General Staff, to all schools around the country, requesting that all students see the film and asked school directors return a "conclusive report" to the related administration by Feb 29, 2009.

The ministry said in a statement Wednesday that the film was sent to schools for the benefit of the teachers, not the students.

There was no directive suggesting watching of the documentary was compulsory in schools, it added. "But some schools used the film inappropriately," the statement said.

Academics have criticized the documentary for reflecting the official ideology of the Turkish Republic on the 1915 incidents and undermining the claims of an alleged Armenian "genocide". 

Some 500 Armenians and intellectuals sent an open letter to the prime minister protesting the ministry’s move, daily Radikal reported on Wednesday. The letter requested the exemption of Armenian schools and Armenian students, who attended classes with Turkish students, from watching the documentary in order to "prevent them feeling guilty, ashamed and excluded from the others".


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