Forget about pope – this is real news!

Students defend 'heretic' professor who criticized AtatürkI know that to most of you this will sound weird, but for me this is much bigger news then Pope`s visit to Turkey and implications that will bring…

This is simply bigger then it looks like. Living in Turkey for some 9 months I have learned already that here you can do basicly whatever you want except for one thing – do not ever criticize Ataturk!!

For those who don`t know, Ataturk is a father of Turkish nation – a founder of modern Turkey. He was the one to rebel against the Sultan and create a country that we today know as Turkey. He reformed almost everything, from language to the political and education system… Sounds good? Yup, it truly is… Not the way he did it though… At least not in my point of view… Some will say that revolution is revolution and whatever happens during the revolution is serving the cause… And I`m not gonna argue… No matter what`s my opinion on the subject…

Now, I do make jokes about Ataturk all the time with fellow aiesecers, for I know they won`t get me serious… And I even tested water with a couple of colleagues in my office , teasing them about Ataturk`s place of birth and education (he was born in Thessaloniki, Greece – and we all know about constant conflict between these 2 countries) – and the reaction was not that pleasant at all… a bitter smile was a clear message not to mess with this…
And unbelievably, whole country is all about Ataturk… Statues everywhere, photos everywhere, his thoughts are quoted in any occasion, been that politics or TV ads… His Al Pacino-looking face is on all money bills and coins…
Ok, some would say, it`s not the only country that has “The Leader”… Sure, but those countries like Turkmenistan, Cuba, North Korea are “somewhat” different 🙂
and they have their “leaders” still alive and kickin`…

Turkey is too modern to have this kind of idols, especially when… ok, I said I won`t argue his greatness and I`ll stick to it…

So anyways, this news below is for me much bigger then Pope having balls to visit an islamic country after the whole buzz with his message… Pope will come and leave, but this might be a beginning of something… something that can help this country switch from Big to Great… Or will this be a switch from Big to endlesly miserable…

 

Students defend ‘heretic’ professor who criticized Atatürk

Monday, November 27, 2006

While prominent Turkish liberal Professor Atilla Yayla is under fire for criticizing Kemalism, young liberals stand up for his right to speak out
MUSTAFA AKYOL
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

“The problems began when the “heretic” argued that the era of Mustafa Kemal was “a period of regression, not progress.” He also criticized the abundance of photos and statues of Mustafa Kemal all around Turkey and warned that Turkey couldn’t continue like this in its EU-driven process of democratization and liberalization. “Europeans will ask us,” said Yayla, “why this man’s photos and statues are everywhere.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ahh Nino Ah.do think the situation is so simple like you saw from nargile internet cafe?..the hidden fight between soldiers and EU is not simple though.and the fight between east and west…if a professor insults Ataturk and ask why the photos of this guy are every where?, young people will say that: should we put your mum’s photo or founder of the country who kicked the asses of France,UK,ıtaly, and greece?..the things is: all the above countries are in EU and they dont wanna see the photo of Ataturk.speaking about democracy is just a mean…and soldiers are not stupid in this country.

    Bilal

  2. PeckoPivo says:

    Yo Bilal, thx for replying…
    No, I don`t think that situation is “that simple”. But the way you put it in this e-mail shows exactly what I wrote in my comment on news.
    That is if I didn`t know you and how smart you are, so I will take this as you quick reaction-reply…

    If I`m not clear enough, just check what you said – “should we put your mum`s photo or founder of the country” – dude, this is not about celebrating Ataturk or not! OF course Turks should celebrate him! But not in this way, my friend… Not in this way…
    Sure you guys are proud at the country that he created etc… and yeah, national pride is one of things that makes one country great… but come on – get over it at once!
    If he was such a great leader, I bet he would prefer that you guys keep reforming your country instead of celebrating him…

    and don`t bring this EU shit to me… You know that I`m quite anti-EU so this doesn`t stand… and that I`m coming from a country that is under strong pressure by EU to join, so I know very well what you mean. But it is not everything about them, you know… In Balkan case, for most people situation with all countries being pressured to arrest war-criminals is just a technical thing to get to EU… well it`s not, if you know what I mean…
    just for the record – am not saying that Ataturk is war-criminal :), but the concept is the same… It is something that keeps you behind… in your case culturally and economically.
    Especially culturally, because if for you is OK that this professor is suspended because he said what he thinks, then I don`t know why I have put effort in replying 😉

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