Attacks on statues of Turkey’s founding president Atatürk become unusually frequent

Attacks on statues and figures symbolizing the founding president of Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, have become unusually frequent especially within the last few months.

While dozens of such incidents happened since early summer, at least 4 cases have been reported just within the past ten days.

In southeastern province of Diyarbakır, a man hammered a statue of Atatürk at city’s downtown. The aggressor was reported to have been taken into custody immediately by the security teams on site. The 30 year-old man was then arrested.

In Zonguldak province of the northern region, the statue displaying a five year-old girl presenting flowers to Atatürk was also attacked by an unidentified attacker(s).

Following these attacks, an eikon of Atatürk placed in front of a public hospital in southern province of Mersin was damaged in a way that left the head part of the figure detached from the body. Some people seeing the attack of a man on the figure tried stopping him forcefully and violently, reports said. The vandal was taken into custody by police near the hospital.

More recently, a 50 year-old man was caught and arrested by police for having sprayed over another eikon of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in front of the municipality headquarters in Eskişehir province.

As the creator of the secular and democratic governance system in Turkey, Atatürk has been a figure dissented by certain factions of the conservative groups in Turkey since the creation of the Republic. Since the Islamist ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power in early 2000’s, opposition against the legacy of Atatürk has been taken to a new level, where some government officials have not only insulted Atatürk - even at the cost of getting legally punished for it - but some others have also openly voiced their preference for the establishment of a new system in Turkey that is ‘not secular’.