Posters prepared to mark coup bid anniversary stir ‘soldier defamation’ debate in Turkey
ANKARAPosters prepared to mark the first year anniversary of the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, have stirred a major debate in Turkey, with many social media users and politicians slamming them for “defaming soldiers.”
Some of the posters featuring the presidential logo show people reacting to Turkish soldiers during the thwarted coup, which is widely believed to have been orchestrated by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
On July 15, 2016, coup plotters blocked roads and bombed state institutions, including the parliament, before the attempted takeover was thwarted with the help of citizens resisting putschist soldiers on the streets.
Posters were met with criticism after many claimed that soldiers were seen in agony, “defaming” the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Speaking about the issue, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) group deputy chairman Erkan Akçay said he didn’t approve of the posters.
“They don’t reflect the July 15 spirit well,” Akçay said, while main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said the posters “create an enmity against the army.”
“An enmity against the armed forces and the military was created with these photos that insult the TSK. A nation which depicts their soldiers as weak can’t survive,” Tezcan said, adding that the photos were taken from foreign websites.
“The soldiers in those posters are not Turkish, but they put the pictures they found from foreign websites and portrayed them as Turkish soldiers. What kind of shamelessness, what kind of a weakness is this,” he said.
Another name to react against the issue was CHP group deputy chairman Özgür Özel, who said “the people always stood up for their soldiers.”
“There are certain figures who are showing unranked soldiers weak and being humiliated by people across from them. The people in this country are always against coups, but they always stand up for their soldiers,” Özel said.
The posters were also slammed by MHP dissidents Meral Akşener and Ümit Özdağ.
“Putting the pictures of weak, defeated, desperate Turkish soldiers rather than the villains who carried out the July 15 uprising serve the dishonorable,” Akşener tweeted, while Özdağ said the posters were “insulting and attacking the Turkish military.”
“The July 15 posters are insulting and attacking the Turkish army rather than FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization]. I wonder if they hate the Greek army this much?” Özdağ tweeted.
Hashtags were also circulated on Twitter by users who criticized the posters, with many saying, “TSK is our honor, TSK is our pride.”
Meanwhile, Washington’s subway authority has banned July 15 informatory posters prepared by the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) after finding them “too political,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The ban was slammed by MÜSİAD’s U.S. head Mustafa Tuncer, who said the decision constituted an “embargo.”