Reactions pour against insults targeting Atatürk
ISTANBUL / ANKARAA group of historians’ insults against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, in a TV program and a social media posting triggered a big reaction and anger from politicians, writers and historians, as prosecutors also take action.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also reacted harshly to the comments on the TV show, saying he strongly condemned them.
“Atatürk is our national value. I strongly condemn this and attempts similar to this. Whatever is necessary will be done legally,” Yıldırım told reporters in a press conference in Ankara on May 10, adding that they could not accept any insults directed at Atatürk.
Süleyman Yeşilyurt, the host of a TV show called “Derin Tarih” (Deep History) on private television stations TVnet, claimed in a May 6 broadcast that Atatürk’s foster child, Afet İnan, was his illegitimate wife.
After the claims stirred outrage on social media, the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office filed an official complaint against Yeşilyurt, as well as commentators Mustafa Armağan and Yavuz Bahadır, for “defamation.”
This added to another controversial claim by Hasan Akar, a commentator who posts videos online, who said “Atatürk was an illegitimate child.”
An investigation was launched into Yeşilyurt over “insulting Atatürk’s memory” by the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office due to his comments on the program, while another investigation was launched into Akar over his comments on Atatürk’s mother.
An order for Yeşilyurt and Akar to be detained was given to the police by the prosecutor’s office, Anadolu Agency reported on May 9.
“We will do whatever is necessary to bring our country, which was entrusted to us by thousands of martyrs and was founded by our heroes, forward. Our history doesn’t have anything that can shame us. We think that these debates are meaningless and intentional. We are very clear on that,” Prime Minister Yıldırım said.
Another government official who condemned the insults directed at Atatürk was European Union Minister Ömer Çelik.
“A debate has erupted regarding some ugly comments expressed by some people on TV. We condemn these statements that are [devoid of historical or scientific accuracy] about the founder of our republic, our first president and the founder of our state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, his mother and his foster child,” Çelik said May 10, adding that it was obligatory to respect “our first president and the founder of our state.”
“These issues are as serious as they can’t be the subjects of an intellectual exercise or paparazzi. That’s why we reject this disrespect. The prosecutor’s office will do what is necessary within the boundaries of its duty,” he also said.
A day earlier, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the owners of the claims “are not even human.
The TV show and a magazine that goes by the same name also attracted harsh reactions, with the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) deciding to impose heavy penalties on TVnet. In the event of a recurrence of a similar incident, the TV could be removed from the air.
RTÜK fined the TV channel the maximum amount possible, 5 percent of its advertisement revenue.
In addition, Nezih Kitapevi, Remzi, D&R and Migros decided to remove the “Derin Tarih” magazine from their shelves.
In a statement, Nezih Kitapevi thanked social media users for requesting that they remove the magazine from their stores.
Arı İnan, Afet İnan’s daughter, meanwhile, said she would not file a complaint.
“Everyone knows who Afet İnan is and what she did. What else can be discussed? These people are out of their minds. What they did is nonsense. What can I do to these people? I can’t bother with ignorant people. They want to create a sensation,” she told daily Hürriyet on May 10.