Prosecutor seeks up to 7.5 years in jail for historians over ‘insulting Atatürk’

An Istanbul chief public prosecutor filed an indictment on May 17 against two historians for “insulting” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, seeking from 2.5 years to 7.5 years of jail time. 

Süleyman Yeşilyurt, a 68-year-old historian, was remanded in custody on May 12, as Istanbul’s Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said the two suspects were accused of “defamation of Atatürk’s memory” and “inciting people to hatred and hostility.”       
 
The second suspect, Hasan Akar, has been at large since the Bakirköy court issued an arrest warrant for both on May 11.        

The historians’ comments on Atatürk in a May 6 TV broadcast as well as Akar’s social media post triggered outrage from politicians, writers and historians in Turkey. 

An investigation was launched into Yeşilyurt for “insulting Atatürk’s memory,” while another investigation was launched into Akar for his comments on Atatürk’s mother. 

Yeşilyurt, the host of a TV show called “Derin Tarih” (Deep History) on private broadcaster TVnet, claimed on May 6 that one of Atatürk’s foster children, Afet İnan, was actually his illegitimate wife.

This was added to another controversial claim by Akar, who claimed on social media that “Atatürk was an illegitimate child.”

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