Following the coup d’etat in July 2016 attributed to Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish government had cleansed its university libraries. Notably, it had ordered the destruction of 1 800 000 copies of different manuals (including mathematics) published by publishing houses linked to the preacher or simply bearing his initials. While this first purge had enabled 13 000 tonnes of paper to be recycled, it cost 16 million dollars.

On 11 October 2017, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Culture, Numan Kurtulmuş, declared before the Great National Assembly that it had managed to ensure that another 140 000 were destroyed by 1 142 libraries of which he was in charge (photo: Kamil Güleç, the University of Karabük’s new library).

This second purge has not only affected books authored by Fethulah Gülen, or his disciples or those who speak about him, but also authors who are against the AKP’s Islamic doctrine. These include the English biologist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) or those addressing his theory of evolution of species.

Numan Kurtulmuş is a former Associate Professor with the Economics Faculty of the University of Istanbul.

Anoosha Boralessa