Turkey will only be teaching the theory of evolution to college students after deeming the subject too complicated for younger pupils.

Alpaslan Durmuş, head of the Education Ministry's curriculum board, said the theory had been excluded from the most recent draft of the country's new national curriculum, announced earlier this year.

"We have excluded controversial subjects for students at an age unable yet to understand the issues' scientific background," Durmuş said, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

"As the students at ninth grade are not endowed with antecedents to discuss the 'Origin of Life and Evolution' section in biology classes, this section will be delayed until undergraduate study."

The new national curriculum was approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following broad public consultations. It will be released next week, following Eid al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

The move is likely to stir criticism among the country's secular opposition, which has often argued the government is trying to ditch secular education in favour of a more Islam-oriented curriculum.

The government already showed its aversion to the theory of evolution earlier this year, when Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the theory was "archaic and decayed".

"Scientifically, the theory of evolution is already an archaic and disproven theory. There is no such rule that this theory must be taught. Perhaps it might be brought to the agenda as one of the theories," he was quoted by Hurriyet Daily at the time.

In 2011, reports claimed the government had blocked access to web pages advocating the theory, after deeming them as unsafe for children. The pages were reinstated following public outrage.

In another move that sparked public condemnation, state officials forced a science magazine to scrap an article on the life and work of Charles Darwin in 2009. Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technology) withdrew its 16-page feature on the scientist upon request by the the state-run Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (Tubitak).

The magazine editor was also fired for "exceeding her authority" by commissioning the article, which Tubitak said was "not planned or scientifically evaluated beforehand", the Guardian reported at the time.

Critics of the government allege the state is trying to impose different interpretations of history and values on the education system.

In 2014, authorities stirred criticism for introducing compulsory Ottoman language classes in religious high schools.

In November of that year, the country found itself at the centre of controversy for replacing pictures in textbooks of human genitalia explaining the biological process of reproduction with images of animals such as dolphins.

More recently, Turkey has been accused of curbing freedom of speech and curtailing other freedoms after sacking thousands of civil servants, academics, police and army officials following a failed coup d'etat that resulted in the death of at least 265 people last July.

Erdogan has blamed the attempted overthrow on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denied any involvement.

Following an April referendum that granted Erdoğan sweeping new powers, the country has suspended at least 14,000 civil servants, police and military personnel.