Erdoğan likens removal of Dostoyevsky from curricula in Europe to ‘Nazi mindset’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called the removal of Dostoyevsky’s works from academic curricula in some European countries a "Nazi mindset." Meanwhile, social media users mocked Erdoğan for his pronunciation of Dostoyevsky as “Dostoviski,” as “viski” means “whisky” in Turkish.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized some European countries for the reported removal of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s literature from academic curricula and likened it to “Nazi mindset.”

“There could be some sanctions and embargoes to stop the war, but you cannot take such a stance against businessmen and artists,” Erdoğan reportedly said at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) central executive board meeting on March 7.

Erdoğan said he also conveyed this to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call.

He said Turkey cannot turn away from either Russia or Ukraine, while adding that Turkey was against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Turkey is against the growing sanctions against Russia, he added.

Erdoğan said the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine will meet in a trilateral meeting in the southern province of Antalya on March 10.

“This meeting could be a very important step in overcoming the crisis,” he added.

In his one-hour-long phone call with Putin, Erdoğan said he stressed the importance of turning the ceasefire into permanent peace.

Erdoğan’s pronunciation of Dostoyevsky mocked on social media

Meanwhile, social media users mocked Erdoğan for his pronunciation of Dostoyevsky as “Dostoviski,” as “viski” means “whisky” in Turkish.

Addressing members of the AKP separately at the party's weekly parliamentary group meeting on March 9, Erdoğan criticized reported bans on Russian literature and culture in European countries in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“Can there be such silliness? There are bans on the works of Dostoyevsky. How is this different from Hulagu [Khan] who raided libraries in Baghdad in history?” he said, referring to Dostoyevsky as “Dostoviski."

Several social media users mocked his pronunciation.

“One of Dostoviski’s most important pieces are Alcohol and Punishment,” a user said, referring to the Russian literary giant’s “Crime and Punishment.”

“What is this? A new national and domestic brand of whisky?” another Twitter user said.  

“He knows Dostoyevsky’s pieces very well. When they say [literary] piece, he probably thinks about buildings. [Erdoğan’s] favorite Dostoyevsky piece is Double Highway,” another said, referring to a term the AKP has used widely to refer to double-highway construction projects the government carried out.