Marie Arena, the education minister for Belgium’s French-speaking community in the Walloon region, made a request yesterday for a meeting with Turkey’s ambassador to Belgium in an apparent effort to explain the publishing of a book in which the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is listed among the important homosexual and bisexual personalities of history.
[...] “The issue is extremely sensitive, and Belgian officials have eventually noticed their mistake,” Yusuf Seki, press officer of the Turkish Embassy in Brussels, said yesterday, noting that following the embassy's warning, the ministry had decided not to publish in the next edition of the book a list of “Famous homosexuals and bisexuals in history” in which Atatürk was included. [...]
[T]he 144-page book, titled “Fight Against Homophobia,” was [...] distributed to teachers for guidance so they could use it as a tool in lectures aimed at creating awareness concerning anti-homophobia, they said. Reminded of the fact that the list was already published in the first edition and that the books were already distributed, the Belgian sources said, “The ministry will request that teachers not take those pages into consideration while instructing students.”
The book, prepared at the instruction of Arena, emphasizes that homosexuality is not actually a negative thing and that there have been many famous and important homosexual or bisexual people in history. [...] Belgium is one of the few countries in the world that grants its citizens the right to same-sex marriages and child adoption by homosexual couples. It was stated that the distribution of the book on homophobia was aimed at “enlightening the future of the young generation in Belgium” [...] with an aim of preventing the younger generation from harboring negative opinions on homosexuality.