Turkish imam arrested after 'targeting' Atatürk and Republic

A Turkish court arrested an imam over “insulting Atatürk,” the founder of the Turkish Republic, after he said in a speech that “Islamic scholars were executed” and the religious values were targeted with the foundation of the Republic.

Duvar English

A Kocaeli court has arrested imam Metin Özcan over “insulting Atatürk” and “inciting the people to hatred and enmity” in his speech “targeting” the Turkish Republic and its founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

In a video spread over social media, Özcan said during a religious ceremony that the Republic, which was founded in 1923, targeted religious values and “executed Islamic scholars,” Demirören News Agency reported on Nov. 2.

“The Caliphate was abolished, madrasahs were closed, dervish lodges were closed. The alphabet changed. The Muslim who knew everything now knows nothing (due to alphabet change). Read history well, research well. May God protect us. Mothers, educate your children. There is neither education nor knowledge (in the schools),” Özcan said in the video that stirred a huge reaction on social media.

After the reactions, Özcan was detained and then released under judicial control measures.

Upon the prosecutor’s objection, a Kocaeli court arrested Özcan this time. 

Körfez district mufti's office in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, on the other hand, launched an investigation into imam Özcan.

On Oct. 29, Turkey celebrated the centennial of the foundation of its republic.