CHP reacts to new posts to Atatürk Institute

CHP reacts to new posts to Atatürk Institute

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
President Abdullah Gül’s recent appointment of some controversial names to the board of the Atatürk Culture, Language and History Institution has raised reactions from the opposition.

Among the newly appointed names is political scientist Professor Mümtaz’er Türköne, who sparked a debate last year by directing comments against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
“Based on my own experiences I learned in long years that Kemalism is a mask to hide ignorance, inadequacy and illiberality,” Türköne wrote in an article in daily Zaman on the anniversary of Atatürk’s death. Following the appointment news, however, Türköne said he would be “honored to serve in such an institution.”

“The decision is up to the president,” he said. “Atatürk is a common value for our country and we need values that bring us together.” Meanwhile, leading figures from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) have railed against such appointments.

“A person who condemns Atatürk is now being appointed as a board member to an institute carrying Atatürk’s name. If Türköne is really behind his words, I wonder how he will serve there; he should resign,” said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

“The president must be joking,” said Gürsel Tekin, CHP’s vice president. “It is unacceptable to appoint someone who insults Atatürk constantly.”

Another controversially appointed figure is Professor İskender Pala, who was expelled from his post in the Army in 1996 due to his reactionary acts. Both Türköne and Pala were appointed to the institution’s administrative board.

Professor Alparslan Açıkgenç who specializes in academic studies on Islamic philosophy, and Professor Necati Polat, who is a columnist at daily Zaman, were appointed to the consultative board.

Gül appointed Professor Ayşe Ayata, the wife of CHP Vice President Sencer Ayata, to the advisory board.