PRAGUE — Authorities in Prague have rejected Ankara’s request to erect a monument to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, in the capital of the Czech Republic.
The Armenian service of RFE/RL – Azatutyun reports, citing Czech media, that the Armenian community of the country has written a letter of complaint to the Prague municipality. The letter requests a denial of permission to erect a monument to “a person who is considered guilty of the genocide of Armenians and Greeks.”
Turkey will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Republic this fall, and the plan to erect a statue of Atatürk in Prague’s 6th district was intended to be part of the celebrations. The Czech website Prague Morning recently reported that the city municipality is currently considering Turkey’s request.
According to the site, a similar plan to erect a statue of Atatürk in Karlovy Vary eight years ago was abandoned due to protests and complaints from the Armenian community. The report also notes that earlier this year, Turkish Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Egemen Bağış, held discussions with Jakub Starka, the head of the 6th district of Prague, and his deputy, Vaslav Kojeni, regarding the monument.
Per the agreement, the monument was intended to be placed in a park at the intersection of Ankarská and Na Větrník streets, as mentioned in the article.
Despite being remembered as one of the most significant politicians of the 20th century, Atatürk has been accused of ethnic cleansing of Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, as he implemented a “Turkization policy” in the country.