Turkish municipality erects Rabia sign statue
DÜZCEA municipality in the northwestern province of Düzce has erected a statue of the famous Rabia sign at an intersection of roads, Doğan News Agency reported on June 21.
The Rabia sign is a four-finger hand gesture that has been adopted in 2013 as the symbol of resistance by the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It has also since then become Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s salute at his meetings with crowds.
Speaking about the erection of the statue, local mayor Mehmet Keleş, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said: “We need some symbols that will show that some things in this country will no longer exist after the coup trauma we have been through on July 15 . One of these is ‘One homeland, one flag, one nation, one state,’ which is especially emphasized by our honored president. And a symbol of this has also come out.”
“As our president has pointed out, in order to immortalize this in Düzce, we have placed it at the intersection of roads. [The construction of] the intersection is not over yet,” Keleş said, adding that the intersection will be connected to another road to make it bigger.
But members of the ultra-nationalist group Grey Wolves, also known as “Bozkurtlar” in Turkish, criticized the municipality’s move by gathering at a local park and marching to the intersection where the statue is located. The group was seen chanting slogans: “The grey wolf [Bozkurt] is the Turk’s national symbol” and later covering the statue with their flag.
The group’s provincial chairman, Fatih Gülaçtı, said the Rabia sign was trying to be imposed upon Turkey’s national culture. “We are neither against one state, nor one flag, nor one nation, nor one homeland. This has been said by the grey wolves since the past. We add the ‘one language’ to these. But what we object to is the Rabia sign of the Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged after a riot in Egypt, being imposed on our people as a national symbol,” he said.
“Rabia is not our symbol. This freak [statue] which has been erected here solely for the purposes of party favoritism should be taken off immediately. Even if it was erected with one’s own money, or with the municipality’s own resources, no one can erect this freak [statue] here,” he said, adding that the group would take legal action against the move.