Turkey: Opposition figure blasted over remarks about Ottoman rulers
A mayor's remarks in criticism of the Ottoman rulers during the First World War and its aftermath met with strong reactions from the representatives of the ruling People's Alliance in Turkey.
Tunc Soyer, the mayor of Turkey's western coastal city of Izmir and an important figure of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said in the address he made on the occasion of the centennial of Izmir's liberation from Greek forces:
"It was a hundred years ago. Those who ruled over these lands were lost in delusion and even treachery. They showed no concern for the young, the women, the children, and for the future. They threw an entire nation into the fire to protect their rule in their palace."
Omer Celik, the spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) reacted saying:
"Those who are supposed to address the past hostilities of enemy forces on the anniversary of our beautiful Izmir's liberation, but instead targets the Ottoman State are devoid of consciousness (...) Whoever tries to pit the Ottoman State against the Turkish Republic has problems with the nation's sovereignty."
Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the far right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said:
"Depiction of our history through the eyes of the enemy, as done by today's collaborators, who do not say a single word against the invaders who trampled our country with their bloody boots, is an unrecoverable ignorance and an incurable sickness of the converts."
Bahceli's use of the word "converts" is a reference to the non-Muslims who were converted into Islam in the Ottoman Empire, many in the process of being raised as state officials.
Mustafa Destici, the leader of the ultranationalist Great Unity Party (BBP), said:
"I believe Tunc Soyer himself has been lost in delusion and treachery, because he feels he is closer to the Greeks than the Ottomans. He insults the Ottomans but does not say a single word against the invading Greeks."