Prague rejects Turkish embassy’s request for Atatürk statue


PRAGUE: The Turkish Embassy’s bid to install a 3-meter statue of modern Türkiye founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the Czech capital Prague has been turned down by local authorities, the BBC has reported.

The request, made to honor the centenary of the Turkish Republic, was met with careful consideration by the sixth district’s city council, which ultimately opted to decline the proposal, as confirmed by the district’s spokesperson in a statement to the Czech media.

The envisioned location for the Atatürk statue was a small park on Ankarska (Ankara) Street, situated directly opposite the Turkish Embassy building. Jan Lacina, the district’s deputy mayor for culture, highlighted that the rejection was based on several key factors.

In a statement to the Mladá fronta DNES news outlet, Lacina cited the artistic merit of the statue and its alignment with the historical context of the street as pivotal considerations. However, a major point of contention surfaced in the form of the 1915 events, Lacina said.

“While we hold deep respect for the visionary leader behind modern Türkiye, we have decided against installing the statue within Prague’s sixth district,” he stated.

Türkiye’s ambassador to Prague, Egemen Bağış, told Turkish daily Milliyet that the process may not be concluded yet, asserting that the matter was raised by one of the smaller parties within the district municipality’s coalition.

“I will meet with the mayor [Ondřej Kolář] again on Thursday [Aug. 17]. Our intention is to keep the memory of our founder Atatürk alive,” he stated.__Daily Hurriyet