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Creationism in Turkey


Adding to the creationism sightings around the world, Reuters (November 22, 2006) ran a story on Islamic creationism in Turkey, where "[s]cientists say pious Muslims in the government, which has its roots in political Islam, are trying to push Turkish education away from its traditionally secular approach." The main source of antievolution propaganda in Turkey is Harun Yahya -- a pseudonym probably for a pool of writers, headed by Adnan Oktar -- which, as Taner Edis told Reuters, "has managed to create a media-based and popular form of creationism." Efforts to popularize "intelligent design" in Turkey are lagging, Reuters suggests, because most Turks "see no need to avoid naming God," but Education Minister Huseyin Celik recently told CNN Turk that "intelligent design" should not be disregarded just "because it coincides with beliefs of monotheistic religions about creation."

A story (subscription required) in the November 23, 2006, issue of Nature on creationism in Europe devoted a few paragraphs to creationism in Turkey, which is presently seeking to join the European Union. The geneticist Steve Jones, just returned from Istanbul, told Nature, "Creationism is a major issue in Turkish politics; the debate is much more tense than in the United States," adding, "All biology textbooks now used in schools are creationist in tone." Although the story also mentioned recent creationist activity in Poland, Germany, Britain, Italy, and Russia -- evidently forgetting Serbia, where the teaching of evolution was banned and then unbanned in the course of a busy week in September 2004 -- it reported that Jones was not particularly worried about the prospect of its undermining science in such countries. But, he added, "I am not so optimistic about Turkey."