In an interview with Milliyet, one of Turkey's highest-circulation daily newspapers, the editor of Bilim ve Teknik, Çiğdem Atakuman, confirmed that she had been removed from her post over the affair, but declined to comment further because she is still a TÜBİTAK employee.This is terrible and there are already protests at universities in Turkey. At the same time, a word of caution: In Turkey evolution has become a highly charged political issue - linked to the debate over secularism there. There are also Municipal elections scheduled for March 29th. So we have to keep the political context in mind. In any case, there is absolutely no excuse for the censorship and for the sacking of the editor. Here is a bit from an Associated Press story about it:
Milliyet reports that the editorial changes were ordered by TÜBİTAK's vice-president, engineer Ömer Cebeci. Neither Cebeci nor TÜBİTAK's president, Nüket Yetiş, were available to be interviewed by Nature, and the agency has released no official statement on the matter.
Secularists in Turkey suspect the Islamic-oriented government seeks to raise the role of religion and promote the Muslim version of creationist theory. The democratically elected government, however, has said it backs the country's secular principles.
Parliament Speaker Topkan Koksal, a member of the Islamic-rooted ruling party, said he opposed the action against the magazine by the state-run Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.
"Whether you like Darwin's theory or not, whether you believe in it or not, this is another matter," he said, calling the council's decision "wrong."
The council has not commented. Turkey's main opposition party, a bastion of secularists, demanded an explanation, and dozens of university students and teachers protested outside the Council's headquarters in Ankara.
Atakuman confirmed reports that the publication was stopped at the presses and the article was removed from the issue. Newspapers printed copies of both the original issue and the new issue without the Darwin article. The subject of the new cover was global warming.