A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kemalism Strikes Back: Second Strange Ataturk Story in a Week

Late last week I shared with you the story of children "moved to tears of joy" when meeting a Kemal Ataturk double. Now we learn that one of the hottest things in Turkey is downloading a font based on Ataturk's handwriting.

If you absolutely insist on having a cult of personality for a leader, it's generally a lot less bloody if you have it for a long-dead one. Ataturk hasn't been gone as long as, say, Washington and Lincoln, but he's not likely to have you shot if you don't download his font, as Saddam might credibly have done. (He did put his handwriting on the flag.)

As this article notes, this is presumably a Kemalist reaction to the AKP Party's non-secularist ways, as old-guard Kemalists cling to their hero's image and handwriting.

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