Turkish textbook ducks the birds and the bees
PICTURES of human genitalia have been removed from a new edition of a biology school textbook in Turkey, sparking fresh criticism that the Islamic rooted-government is seeking to promote conservative values, a report said on Wednesday.
Diagrams showing the inner workings of the penis and vagina have been replaced by pictures of fluffy ducklings, cute polar bears and a human mother with her newborn baby, the Hurriyet daily said in its Internet edition.
The pictures are in a chapter of the textbook Reproduction, Growth And Development In Living Beings, taught in sixth-grade classrooms in Turkey.
Abdullah Tunali, a leading psychologist and former regional head of the teachers' union Egitim-Sen, found out that the images of male and female genitalia used to describe reproduction have been removed from the biology textbooks for the new academic year.
While last year's textbook contained explicit details of the anatomy and biology of human reproduction, the same page now contains mild images like the ducklings or dolphins, without any explanatory text. A number of sexually explicit words, such as "breast" or "virginity", have also been removed.
"In the past, the inner part of the genitalia was explained to children in a way that would be appropriate for their development, just like heart and kidneys were depicted," Mr Tunali said in the Hurriyet article.
Ahmet Zehir, professor of biology at Marmara University, said this type of censorship in biology classes does "more harm than good" to children.