Prosecutor investigates women over Atatürk remarks

The two women said that Atatürk's reforms were against the will of Turkish people on TV.

Prosecutor investigates women over Atatürk remarks

A prosecutor has started an investigation into two headscarved women following their remarks on a television show about founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Nuray Bezirgan and Kevser Çakır appeared on the Kanal 1 station Monday evening, and in an interview with journalist Fatih Altaylı the two made statements indicating that Atatürk's reforms were against the will of the people.

Following the program, a prosecutor asked the police for the addresses of the two women. Sources said the women would be called by the prosecutor to give statements.

Law no. 5816, concerning the crime of insulting Atatürk, states: "Anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürk shall be imprisoned with a sentence of between one and three years. … If the crimes outlined in the first article are committed by a group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public districts or by means of the press, the penalty imposed will be increased by a proportion of one half."

The discussion on the television program started with Altaylı asking Çakır why she had the picture of Iran's former leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, on her Facebook profile. Çakır replied that she likes and respects him. Then Altaylı pointed out the fact that Iran has an autocratic regime, to which Çakır responded that she does not like that system but likes Khomeini because he is a Muslim. During the program Bezirgan also conveyed that she likes Khomeini.

Later the women were asked by Altaylı if they like Atatürk. In response, Bezirgan said: "Does one have the right not to like Atatürk? If I am not going to be prosecuted for it I can say that I don't like him. I don't think the sultanate gave authorization to Atatürk to found a secular republic. The public at the time fought for Islamic values."

She also noted that Turkey's War of Independence had been started because some of Turkey's Western enemies attacked the Islamic values of the country.

During the discussion between Altaylı and the women, Çakır also said Atatürk was a "good soldier" but not much else.

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Haziran 2008, 18:10