“Throughout his tenure as Prime Minister and now as President, Erdoğan has distanced himself from Atatürk. He views himself as the father of a new Turkish identity, one aligned more closely with its Ottoman past, its Islamic heritage. He has taken the country in a more religious direction, similar to a place it was in before the 1997 coup.
Framed portraits of Atatürk still line Cevdet Paşa Caddesi, the main thoroughfare along the Bosphorus, in Istanbul. It seems unlikely that the Statue of the Republic with him at its center will be removed from Taksim Square anytime soon. Atatürk’s legacy and longevity seem to extend without question. He was the one who advised, ‘He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth, and the teachings of science.'”