Gen. Staff marks national awareness
ANKARAChief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel released a message Dec. 23 honoring the 82nd anniversary of the assassination of Lt. Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay, in which he underlined the need to inspire a “consciousness of national history” among young generations.
“This saddening incident that took place in Menemen on Dec. 23, 1930 is important in seeing the real faces of some ill-intended and raving individuals and groups who wanted to provoke our people by misusing our sacred values,” Özel said.
“I find it important and necessary that incidents in our history are like lessons to be transmitted to young generations in a detailed and accurate way and through reason-result relation and to contribute to inspiring them with a consciousness of national history,” Özel added.
Kubilay, along with two other officials serving in the military of the newly founded Republic, were killed Dec. 23, 1930, by religious extremists targeting Atatürk’s secular reforms in the Aegean town of Menemen.
Following his death, Kubilay came to be seen as a martyr for Atatürk’s vision of establishing a secular and democratic Republic.
Özel’s statement came at a time when some conservative media outlets have been claiming that the Menemen incident was used as an excuse by the then-single party rule, mainly to suppress pious people. The grave of one such religious person, Nakşibendi sheikh, who was hung as part of the Menemen incident, was recently found, the daily Zaman reported on Dec. 23.
President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan released separate messages Dec. 22 commemorating the Menemen incident.
“It is saddening that this grievous incident has been used as a tool of exploitation for years in order to keep a certain segment of society under pressure,” Erdoğan said.
Gül hailed the success of the Republic, mentioning the legacy Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. “I want to state on this occasion that our nation has a strong and steady will for carrying our Republic to the future with its fundamental values and acquisitions, and for carrying out the great ideals of our country,” Gül said.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was in Menemen on Dec. 23 attending a commemoration ceremony held in the town.