Turkish nationalist party lays claim to national oath

Turkish nationalist party lays claim to national oath

Maintaining his opposition against the abolition of the student oath as part of the government’s recently announced democratization package, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli sent framed Turkish flags with student oaths written on them to all provincial branches of his party.

MHP Deputy Chair Semih Yalçın, speaking to Anadolu Agency on Oct. 10, recalled a previous ruling by the Council of State stated the word “Turk” represents a “nation” rather than a “race.”

“This is a sort of protest. We are endeavoring to explain that the abolition of the oath is wrong and we don’t approve of it,” Yalçın told Anadolu, noting that a poster with the oath on it, which measures 25 meters in length by 16 meters in width, was already flying in the front façade of the party’s headquarters in Ankara.

The oath was obligatory for primary school students and has long been criticized by non-Turkish citizens for its nationalist language.

Kurds and others have long been angered by much of the oath, which ends with the phrase: “Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene” (“How happy is he who says ‘I am a Turk’”).

According to the publication of the resolutions in the Official Gazette late Oct. 7, the student oath, which has been read out loud every morning for the past 80 years, has been removed.