Emine KARTANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Deputy PM Beşir Atalay who represented Turkey at Mandela’s funeral in South Africa, was among guests attending a premiere of 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,' s hosted by the South African Embassy in Ankara on Feb. 18. AA photo
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has hailed the struggle of recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela, particularly underlining how Mandela managed to avoid holding grudges either during or after his thorny road to freedom.
“Everybody, the entire world and Turkey as well, has lessons to learn from the South African experience,” Atalay told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Mandela is a very authentic model. In other places, there have constantly been revenge incidents. However, Mandela has never held a grudge. Maybe that is the most important lesson to be taken from Mandela’s struggle. Turkey can make use of this experience,” he added.
Atalay has taken an active role in the process to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. In late December 2012, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
made public that intelligence agents were meeting with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, in an attempt to end the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK. Since then, parliamentary delegations have been paying public visits to Öcalan.
Atalay, who represented Turkey at Mandela’s funeral in South Africa, was among guests attending a premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which was hosted by the South African Embassy in Ankara
on Feb. 18.
“Mandela had no grudge and no hatred, but had a big love. After being released from prison, he even transformed those white people who imposed racist policies and practices against black people,” he said.
The deputy prime minister, meanwhile, ruled out comparing Öcalan to Mandela, stating that the two cases were “extremely different from each other.”
The movie, which will be released in Turkish theaters on Feb. 28, will have optional Kurdish subtitles, as well as Turkish subtitles.
Mehmet Gazioğlu, the CEO of distributor company MGbeyond, says this is the first time an internationally produced movie has offered Kurdish subtitles.
Deputy PM Atalay said the initiative was in line with the government’s policies that favored the expansion of the use of different languages in public.