Going viral on social media is a sign wrapped around a statue of Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk located in Washington DC.
But what exactly did the sign say?
“Yes I am guilty of crimes against humanity!”
This of course is in reference to the pivotal role that Atatürk, considered a national hero in Turkey, and his fighting forces had in the systematic extermination of the Ottoman Empire’s Christian minorities, particularly the Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians.
The Greek Genocide Resource Centre through their social media has provided more information about the sign on the statue.
“We’ve learned that the sign was placed there by someone whose extended family perished at Smyrna in 1922 and that it was a peaceful protest against a leader responsible for genocide,” they said on Facebook. “It’s worth noting that on the 13th of November 2008, in a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels, Dr. Ronald Münch from the University of Bremen said that if Ataturk were still alive, he would have to stand trial for war crimes.”
The Greek Genocide Resource Center explains that “one of the final acts of the Greek Genocide was the burning of Smyrna by Kemalist troops in September 1922” after a victorious Mustafa Kemal allowed his soldiers to begin “a systematic orgy of rape, looting and murder of Armenians and Greeks” on September 11.
“On the 13th of September a fire was lit by Kemalist troops which eventually burnt the Armenian, Greek and European quarters of the city to the ground; the Turkish quarter was spared” and “Kemal then issued a two week ultimatum for all Greeks and Armenians to leave or face deportation to the interior,” the Centre explains.
Kemal’s violence was so brutal that Adolf Hitler even said “Atatürk was a teacher; Mussolini was his first and I his second student” and the German dictator even considered Atatürk‘s Turkish Nationalist movement as being a “shining star” for him.