Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is a common value for all citizens, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said upon recent criticism that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has suddenly increased its interest in the country's founding father.
Speaking at his party's weekly parliamentary group meeting, Yıldırım said that Atatürk does not belong to a certain part of society, but to everyone. "Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the common value of this country. Separating society over this issue is not Atatürkism, let alone patriotism. We have seen this plot before, now it is being repeated," he said.
Asserting that some media circles are trying to fuel Atatürk discussions in the country, Yıldırım said that Atatürkism cannot be monopolized by anyone. "When you look at some media organizations, there are unbelievable words. The AK Party is at Anıtkabir. AK Party members are at Anıtkabir.' You fools. The AK Party has been visiting Anıtkabir since the day of its establishment. … Besides, the AK Party or AK Party members do not need to prove their Atatürkism to anybody," he added.
The prime minister asserted that the AK Party is the strongest assurance for the future of secularism in Turkey. "Secularism is a significant area that regulates state and religious affairs. It is not possible for one of them to healthily function without the other," Yıldırım said. Touching on his recent trip to the United States, Yıldırım said that some real steps were taken regarding the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and People's Protection Units (YPG) issues. "We had the opportunity to openly and sincerely convey our expectations on regional issues, including the cooperation between the U.S. and the YPG, to the vice president and his delegation. We have also repeated the request for the arrest of the FETÖ leader and the restriction of his activities and the termination of his activities," he said.