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Sunday, 19 August 2007

Revised text book for Greek 12-year-olds

ATHENS NEWS 10/07/07: A SIXTH-GRADE history textbook that enraged the Greek Orthodox Church, Cyprus and historians over its toned-down versions of Greek suffering at the hands of Ottomans and Turks has been revised by the education ministry. The book was first issued last year to replace a decades-old textbook that was considered outdated and overly nationalist. The book for 12-year-olds, which was introduced to schools last year, was thoroughly revised based on suggestions from senior academic bodies, Education Minister Marietta Yannakou told reporters on August 6. "The writers accepted there were historical faux-pas, mistakes and inaccuracies," said Yannakou, who five months ago resisted calls for its withdrawal. She did not reveal which parts of the book had been revised but said the new version would be used in schools beginning in September. "This book now does not have the mistakes of the previous version. We hope that the reception of the book by the education community will be positive," she said. The Church of Greece, a powerful institution in the mainly Orthodox Christian country, was among the most vocal critics of the book demanding its withdrawal. Critics objected to a reference to a 1922 attack on the city of Smyrna - modernday Izmir - by Turkish forces to drive out the occupying Greek army that forced tens of thousands of Greeks to flee. See comment from Mark Dragomis

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Simon Baddeley