An official from Turkey's ruling AKP criticized over Ataturk remarks

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An official from Turkeys ruling AKP criticized over Ataturk remarks
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Haziran 23, 2008 16:29

The remarks of a high official of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that the country’s modernization revolution in 1923 has "traumatized" society drew huge reaction from the opposition parties, experts and even from within the ruling party. Firat backed his remarks at a press conference on Monday.

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Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, deputy chairman of the AKP, told the New York Times the Turkish society has been "traumatized". “Overnight they were told to change their dress, their language. Their religious ways were dismantled,” he was quoted as saying.


Turkey declared its independency as a democratic republic in 1923 on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was the leader of the battle for independency after World War I and later became the first president of the republic.

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The declaration of independency followed by a series of reforms such as the separation of state and religion, replacing the Arabic alphabet with the Latin alphabet and giving political rights to women.


The main opposition party slammed Firat and his Islamist-rooted party. "The reforms of Ataturk modernized this country and paved the way to establish a secular republic instead of an authoritarian religious structure... In fact, the AKP government is the one who traumatized the Turkish nation, and raises as a major obstacle in front of the modernization of Turkey," Onur Oymen, the deputy leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told the ANKA news agency.


Firat backed his remarks at a press conference on Monday, saying all revolutions resulted in trauma. But he added that only some parts of his statements have been reported by the NYT.


AKP, who has its roots in the political Islam, is seen as one of the most reformist governments in Turkey with its efforts to start accession negotiations with the European Union. However the party has been failed to soothe concerns in the public opinion over its Islamic rhetoric and policies, which have polarized the country.


Firat was also criticized by an MP from within his party. Vahit Erdem, an AKP MP from central Kirikkale, said those "reactionary" remarks should not have been said. Erdem also said everybody should be careful to prevent the tension from rising.


Leftist DSP, nationalist MHP and other political parties had also slammed Firat in their statements.

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