Prosecutor issues arrest warrants for two historians over insulting Atatürk
ISTANBULAn Istanbul chief public prosecutor on May 11 issued arrest warrants for two historians for insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, Doğan News Agency has reported.
A group of historians’ comments on Atatürk on a TV program and a social media post triggered outrage from politicians, writers and historians, as prosecutors also took action.
An investigation was launched into Süleyman Yeşilyurt for “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 Hasan Akar for his comments on Atatürk’s mother.
Prosecutor Ertuğrul Sarıyar demanded the arrest warrants for the pair.
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.
This added to another controversial claim by Akar, a commentator who posts videos online, who said “Atatürk was an illegitimate child.”
An order for Yeşilyurt and Akar to be detained was given to the police by the prosecutor’s office, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 9.
Meanwhile, the suspects were not found at their addresses.
The warrant written by Sarıyar said the two were being detained on grounds of “existing evidences proving their crime,” “insulting the founder of the country,” and “inciting hatred among the public.”
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.”
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and European Union Minister Ömer Çelik also reacted harshly to the comments on the TV show, saying they strongly condemned them.
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.