MHP leader rebukes imam of Hagia Sophia
Intolerance toward Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is intolerance toward the Republic of Turkey, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on June 1, criticizing the remarks by the imam of Hagia Sophia.
“Everybody should know that Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is ours and our nation’s red line. He is our first president and the leader of the War of Independence. Everyone who has faith and compassion is obliged to respect him,” Bahçeli said, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
It is a duty of every generation and every Turkish child to commemorate Atatürk with kindness and respect and stay true to his work, he said.
“I warn the owners of ambitions to take your hand off Atatürk, take back your accusations and silence your tongue,” he added.
“To be hostile to Atatürk with ideological dogmas, a primitive bigotry and sharp prejudices is a service to treason, not to the nation,” Bahçeli said.
“No one should dare to hurt our national unity and denigrate our historical figures with his sermons,” he stated, adding that these statements also inculpate the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
His statement came after controversial remarks on Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, by an imam in Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque last week.
“Who could be crueler, more disbelieving than them,” Mustafa Demirkan, the imam of the Hagia Sophia, said last week during a ceremony which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also attended.