Istanbul is unique. It is the only city in the world where two continents meet. Enjoy old and new in the cultural capital of Turkey with Istanbul expert Marc Guillet

Oldest graffiti artist adores Atatürk

Posted on 19 March 2019

Ataturk graffitiYou will find his work on many walls in Istanbul. On the European as well as on the Asian shores of the Bosporus. I saw him once around 11 PM drawing on exactly this spot in Kadıköy, where the Roma women are selling their flowers.

He is retired and in his 70ties. He draws always the same portrait: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary leader, and the first President of Turkey. He also  abolished the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman sultans and he is the founder of the Republic of Turkey, that is celebrated today as the Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republican holiday).

The oldest graffiti artist of Istanbul adores Atatürk and his dream of a secular, modern and western Turkey.

His portraits have a political message as well: they are his way of protesting against the policies of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Many admirers of Atatürk say the way of life he enshrined and his secular principles are at peril under the current government. Their grievances include the conversion of secular high schools into religious ones – imam hatip vocational schools – imposing religion on students, spread of Islamic headscarves in public offices, and a sectarian, Sunni inspired foreign policy.


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