Shopkeepers in Istanbul’s historic Grand Bazaar attacked a man for not participating in the memorial ceremony for Turkey’s founding president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on Wednesday.
The man was caught on camera, continuing to walk as sirens went off at 09:05 on the anniversary of Atatürk’s death, a tradition where most citizens in Turkey would stop and stand in a minute’s silence in mourning and honouring.
“Images from the ‘New Turkey’ post-AKP,” one Twitter user said, condemning the attack.
Shopkeepers in the Grand Bazaar have in the past shown support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Conservative sections of society have historically kept their distance to celebrations of Atatürk, who founded the secular republic of Turkey, and the conservative AKP government is often accused of downplaying ceremonies related to the republic. However, there has been a shift in the ruling AKP and its leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who recently began embracing Ataturk’s legacy more openly.
The AKP has been losing votes, and opinion polls estimate that the party that has been in power uninterrupted since 2002 may lose the upcoming elections in 2023, which is also Turkey’s centenary.