Professor's Ataturk statements horrifying

With Gazi University having announced this morning that it is dismissing Professor Atilla Yayla, whose remarks about Ataturk at a speech to AKP members in Izmir have caused commotion in the capital and across Turkey, senior AKP officials are also condemning Professor Yayla's words.

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Yayla, who among other things asserted "Kemalism leads more to backwardism than forwardism.....In the future they will ask us why this man's (Ataturk's) photographs and statues were everywhere," stood by his words in the wake of the Izmir meeting.

The Izmir head of the AKP's youth branch, Zafer Kurkcu, said that Professor Yayla had been invited to speak at the AKP youth conference without anyone having been informed of his views. Said Kurkcu, "As the AKP, we cannot take responsibility for what our panelists will say. We invited him as a great speaker. But he should have been careful of what he said." The head of Izmir's AKP branch, Ali Aslik, noted that he had listened to Professor Yayla's speech in horror, and had left the conference salon in protest before the panel was finished.

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