Municipality removes teacher's day poster featuring Atatürk with pop figures amid outcry

An AKP-run district municipality in northwestern Bursa province removed its Teachers’ Day poster featuring Atatürk with popular figures such as Yoda and Master Splinter amid nationalists’ outcry about “disrespecting the memory of Atatürk.”

Duvar English

Mustafakemalpaşa district municipality in northwestern Bursa province recalled Teachers’ Day posters featuring Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founding father of Turkey, with figures from Hollywood and old Turkish movies after it was targeted by far-right and nationalist figures.

The municipality run by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) created billboards showing Atatürk with popular figures “known for their teaching in movies” such as Yoda from Star Wars, Master Splinter from Ninja Turtles, Jackie Chan, and teachers from famous Turkish film The Chaos Class (Hababam Sınıfı).

Atatürk considered as the headteacher in Turkey and Teachers’ Day are celebrated on Nov. 24, the day he had received this title. 

Sharing the poster on social media, far-right Victory Party (ZP) Chair Ümit Özdağ said, "Disgusting. It makes me sick. It is immoral. It is a great disrespect to Atatürk and our teachers, especially to our martyred teachers."

Nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party District Chair Tevfik Demir also reacted to the poster and said, "Official celebrations should be more sensitive in the 100th anniversary of our Republic. This celebration poster, which will be considered an insult to the cherished memory of our founder and head teacher Atatürk, has hurt us all deeply.”

Mayor Mehmet Kanar, on the other hand, said that the poster was removed after the reactions and that it was prepared "to raise awareness among young people.” 

In the new poster, the famous photograph of Atatürk writing the alphabet on the blackboard was used and Atatürk's words "The Republic demands from you generations whose minds are free, conscience is free, and intellect is free" were used.

In the new poster, the famous photograph of Atatürk writing the new Turkish alphabet on the blackboard and his "Republic requires generations with free mind, free conscience and free wisdom," were used.