Anger in Turkey after 'Arab men abuse Ataturk statue'

Anger in Turkey after 'Arab men abuse Ataturk statue'
2 min read
08 April, 2019
A video footage featuring two men of Arab origin insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s statue, sparking anger in Turkey.
The video outraged many social media users [Getty]
A video footage showing two men of Arab origin insulting a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has sparked anger in Turkey, where the first leader of the Turkish Republic in still held in high-regard.

The video which has surfaced on the internet showed two men who appear to speak Arabic with an Egyptian dialect. One insults the statue of the founder of the modern Turkish state, while the other slaps it and directs obscene language at the memorial of Ataturk.

The video outraged many social media users, including Egyptian expatriates in Turkey, who have released a statement denouncing the two men's act against the statue to Turkey's national hero.

"[Egyptian] expatriates reject this despicable act and inform the Turkish people, the Turkish leadership and all currents of Turkish society of its condemnation of this insult," denying that the two men are Egyptians.

"No one has the right to transgress a nation's heritage or trespass its laws," the group said in a statement on Sunday.

Turkish media have claimed that the two men are Saudis and not Egyptians.

"Turki Al-Araby has identified the identity of the Arab man and his friend who outraged the Turkish people after insulting the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It appears that one of them is Saudi, without being able to identify his friend," the online media outlet claimed.

Turkey is home to a large Egyptian community, mainly based in the economic hub Istanbul.

After Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's overthrow of Egypt's first democratically-elected government, many Egyptians - particularly members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood - fled the country to Turkey.

The Islamist movement has close ties with Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which was founded in 2001.

Cairo, however, claims the Brotherhood - the world's oldest Islamist movement - is a "terrorist organisation".