President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in the Hurriet 10 November 2017 that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) aims to "protect the legacy" of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, guarding it from "ideological bigotry that instrumentalizes his name."
He claimed "We consider it a duty to give Ataturk due credit as the commander-in-chief of our Independence War and the founder of our Republic, in front of our nation. Our nation's respect for Ataturk is eternal".
"There is nothing more natural than respect for a name who was leader of such a struggle to have a valuable place in the nation's hearts," he added.
Erdogan also stated that the name of Ataturk had been "used by certain mentalities" as a "tool for ideological purposes."
"Putschists, pro-junta circles and all segments that are enemies of this country's history and this nation's values are trying to hide under the veil of Ataturkism," Erdogan said.
"Reactions against this mentality were sometimes expressed by targeting Ataturk himself, sometimes with wrong expressions and sometimes with misunderstandings," he added.
The president particularly singled out the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which was founded by Ataturk, for "abusing Ataturk's name" and "not protecting his legacy," vowing that his ruling AKP is "determined to protect Ataturk's legacy."
"We are saving Ataturk and his memory from the tyranny of these abusers, by guarding the Republic and by guarding Ataturk's legacy. We aim to bring the nation 'above the level of contemporary civilization,' which he one pointed out as his greatest aim," he said. "We will understand him and talk about him as our nation's Mustafa Kemal, our Republic's Ataturk and the veteran of our War of Independence."
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