Nov 15 2017

Abdülhamid or Atatürk - Yeni Söz editorial

Love for Abdülhamid II, one of the last Ottoman sultans, or love for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, divides the Turkish public, columnist Can Kemal Özer said in the pro-government newspaper Yeni Söz.

Özer said Abdülhamid was a genius who worked day and night to hold the empire together in the spirit of his ancestors. Atatürk, on the other hand, wrote Özer, betrayed the nation’s ancestors by building a country at odds with its values.

Atatürk banned the Quran, silenced the call to prayer, changed the alphabet to cut people's bonds with the past, abolished the caliphate, hanged Islamic scholars, banned visits to the tombs of Ottoman conquerors, and turned mosques into pubs and brothels; and the Turkish people were forced to love Atatürk, Özer said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent endorsement of Atatürk is in the national interest, Özer said. Erdoğan is everyone's president, he said, including the pious, secularists, nationalists and atheists, but no one is obliged to agree with him.