Atatürk replaced by Ottomans at iconic Istanbul high school
ISTANBULThe new principal of a renowned girls’ high school in Istanbul has come under fire from parents who have slammed her for replacing photos of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as ballerina murals, with pictures of Ottoman sultans.
Saadet Berna Ocakcıoğlu became the principal of the Erenköy Girls’ Anatolian High School in December 2014.
According to photographs shared on social media, Ocakcıoğlu renewed the decorations of the school building after the semester holiday break that began on Jan. 23, 2015, covering ballerina murals painted on the walls and removing photos of Atatürk, replacing them with pictures of Ottoman sultans.
Some parents claimed that the new decorations were against the “spirit of the school,” which they described as one of the centers of “women’s enlightenment” in the early republican era.
Muammer Yıldız, the National Education Director of Istanbul province, confirmed that Ocakcıoğlu renewed the internal decorations, but denied the decision was made with any “ulterior motive.”
“The corridors were unusable. Now they have been repainted and cleaned,” Yıldız said, adding that while Ottoman figures have been added, the Atatürk photos have also been rehung.
“The school principal told me that she covered the ballerina mural because it looked old and was not of a quality to inspire students. It was not covered just because it showed ballerinas,” he added.
Officials deny that there is any reason to launch an investigation into the incident, stressing that the school principal had not violated any rules.