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Insulting Ataturk still serious crime in Turkey

Here is the key question that very few Turks ask: Should disrespectful speech about an important person constitute a crime?
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On May 6, TV Net, one of the many pro-government news channels in Turkey, aired the weekly show “Deep History.” The show’s usual hosts, popular history writers Mustafa Armagan and Yavuz Bahadiroglu, hosted Suleyman Yesilyurt, who has published several “investigative” books on Turkish history that are full of racist conspiracy theories about the plots of “crypto Jews” or “crypto Armenians.”

These three talking heads, who all fall into the conservative/Islamic side of Turkish socio-politics, probed into a sensitive topic: the private life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of Turkey. They claimed that Ataturk had a “hall of lovers,” and Yesilyurt even threw out speculation that Afet Inan — Ataturk’s famous foster child — was, in fact, his “illegitimate wife.” The two hosts seemed to agree, and the editor of the show wrote on the screen that Inan, a most respected female figure of the early republic, could well be “the unmarried first lady of the republic.”

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