Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The English translation is a little fractured but this is, if even vaguely correct, a revoltin' development. It seems there is a Turkish government agency by the name of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) that publishes a popular science magazine, Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technical, according to one on-line translation), that has killed a cover story on Charles Darwin due to political pressure:
Allegedly, a executive member of the council intervened at last minute to remove Darwin from the magazine's –Bilim ve Teknik- cover, as well as a dossier on the theory of evolution. Therefore the magazine's March issue arrived a week late in newsstands as global climate change replaced Darwin on the cover.
TÜBİTAK has yet to make an official statement on the allegations. Meanwhile, editor-in-chief of the magazine, Çiğdem Akutaman confirmed the incident but refused make any comments as "she's a public servant." Council's co-chair Prof. Dr. Ömer Cebeci confirmed that Darwin was removed from the magazine's cover but claimed that this is normal procedure. According to news reports, he demanded the change and told Akutaman that she's removed from her post as chief editor.
"This is a scandal! It seems like Adnan Oktar [a so-called religious sect leader who propagandizes for intelligent design and against Darwinizm] might as well be appointed as chief-editor to TÜBİTAK's magazine," said Ender Helvacıoğlu from Science and Future magazine.
He calls on the science community to react against this incident and pressure the government, who has the last word appointing the council's scientific committee. "This intervention can't be regarded as solely censorship. It connotes the states rejection of science."
Association of University Councils (ÜAK) also condemned the act and called for Cebeci's resignation. "TÜBİTAK must clarify this incident as soon as possible. Government biased management should be distanced from TÜBİTAK."
Update: NatureNews has a more coherent article on the issue.