Aug 11, 2023

Turkey Aims for Atatürk Statue in Prague to Commemorate Republic’s Centenary

Turkey will celebrate the centenary of the Republic in autumn. On this occasion, it would like to erect a statue of the first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in Prague 6.

The town hall is considering the request. Eight years ago, the Turks failed in Karlovy Vary with the same plan because of Armenian protests.

Earlier this year, the district head of Prague 6, Jakub Stárka, and the deputy head of the district, Václav Koženy, met with the Turkish ambassador to the Czech Republic, Egemen Bağış. They discussed the statue as a means of strengthening the ties between Prague and the Republic of Turkey.

The statue is supposed to be placed in the park next to Ankarská and Na Větrník streets. It should be around three meters high and standing on a pedestal that is one and a half meters high.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. Originally a field marshal, he served as the first president of the Republic of Turkey since its founding in 1923 until his death in 1938. While celebrated both in Turkey and around the world as one of the most important politicians of the 20th century, he remains a controversial figure.

Atatürk is known for his Turkification policy and is often regarded as a contributor to the ethnic cleansing of Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians in Turkey.

While this is a topic of debate for some historians, many agree that Atatürk was actively involved in the Armenian genocide in the first years of the 1920s. Turkey continues denying the genocide up to this day.

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Due to the controversy surrounding Atatürk, many question if a statue in Prague 6 would be appropriate, with some even openly opposing it.

However, if the statue is actually going to be built is not certain yet. Prague Morning contacted Marek Zeman, the media spokesperson of Prague 6.

Mr. Zeman confirmed that Prague 6 is currently consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the future of the statue, as the district understands the difficulties that come with the statue.

Prague Morning also reached out to the Turkish embassy in Prague but was met with no response.

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