Are there people in Turkey who think that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was not a hero and was actually responsible for the decline of the Turkish nation?

If Yes, why do they think that?

If Yes, is this a new phenomenon or it was existent even before Erdogan?

  • 1
    I would think that a fair percentage of Turkish Kurds wouldn't hold him in high esteem but I'm guessing you weren't asking about them.
    – userLTK
    May 17, 2018 at 5:41
  • 1
    I think you do not have read much history about Turkey. The decline of the Ottoman Empire had started centuries before Ataturk was born, to the point that by the XIX century it was the origin of the sick man of Europe term. You may criticize Ataturk's actions (specially in regards to minorities), wonder if someone else would have done better, or argue if the net result of his actions was positive or negative (all of which is off-topic). But "responsible for the decline of the Turkish nation" is too much of a stretch to be taken seriously.
    – SJuan76
    May 17, 2018 at 8:32
  • Just fyi, Kemal is the middle name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In addition to the full name, people in Turkey mostly call him "Atatürk" or "Mustafa Kemal".
    – user15657
    Jun 4, 2018 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


Yes, some people are against Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) and his opinions. There are several reasons of that, I will try to explain some of them.

Abolition of the Ottoman sultanate

Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) abolished the Ottoman sultanate in 1922 and the Ottoman Empire officially ended. Some people didn't like the fall of the empire.

Abolition of the caliphate

However the Ottoman sultanate was abolished, TBMM elected a new caliph (a religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad) in 1922. He was intended to be a spiritual leader, but not a monarch. Even after the republic was declared (1923), the caliph was in office.

In 1924, TBMM abolished the office of caliphate. In 1928, the constitution was updated and Islam was not the official religion of the state anymore. In 1937, "secular state" was explicitly mentioned in the constitution. Some religious people didn't like the secular state.

Transition to the Latin-script Turkish alphabet

An Arabic-script alphabet was used in the Ottoman era and the first years of the republic. In 1928, the modern Latin-script Turkish alphabet was established. Since the original Quran is written in Arabic, religious people didn't like this transformation too.


The division of opinion mostly arises from the conflict between Islam and secularism. It was existent even before Erdogan, but nowadays people are more courageous to criticize Atatürk and discredit the democratic revolution. Erdogan has an undeniable impact on that.

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