Atatürk's legacy pits scions against his party

Published 20.10.2017 00:00

Seventy-nine years after his death, the inheritance of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk pits the children of his adopted daughter against the political party and a bank he founded.

The two sons of Ülkü Adatepe, who died in a car accident at the age of 80 in 2012, filed a lawsuit against the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and lender İş Bank. A court had dismissed the lawsuit, but the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and ordered a trial.

The sons, Ali Kemal and Ahmet Kemal Doğançay, attended a hearing yesterday in an Istanbul court. The lawyers for the two men asked the court to determine the payments to Adatepe in-line with Atatürk's will. A lawyer for İş Bank told the court they had not kept records of the payments dating back to 1938, the year Atatürk died. The hearing was adjourned until February after the court approved a review of the requests made by the plaintiffs' lawyers.

Adatepe was among the six people cited in the will of Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey, who spearheaded the war for independence after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. She was supposed to be paid a monthly allowance of TL 200 ($55), though she complained that she received less from İş Bank and its shareholder, the CHP. The plaintiffs say the party and lender did not comply with the will and paid a very low amount to Adatepe, though İş Bank grew to be one of the largest financial corporations in the country. İş Bank was accused of directing the descendants of Adatepe to the CHP for payments, while the plaintiffs had complained that the party failed to reply to a cease and desist letter.

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