Lieutenants temporarily suspended over Atatürk photo dispute

A group of lieutenants from an infantry school command in Istanbul has been temporarily suspended from duty for "indiscipline" during a ceremony commemorating the 85th anniversary of modern Türkiye founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's death.

Local media initially reported a brawl between two groups of lieutenants at the school in Tuzla district during the memorial ceremony, revealing that the dispute erupted over the refusal to adhere to the tradition of displaying Atatürk's image.

The Defense Ministry, in response to the incident, declared a temporary suspension of both groups, citing "indiscipline."

"It is a requirement of discipline to act in accordance with the meaning and importance of the day during national commemoration and celebration days, ceremonies and holidays," the ministry stated in a press release on Dec. 20.

"Just as failing to act in accordance with the legislation is a breach of discipline, intervening or acting in a way that constitutes a crime outside of one's duty, authority and responsibility is also a breach of discipline."

The ministry clarified that despite media reports, no final disciplinary action had been taken at this stage.

Defense Minister Güler shed light on the incident on Dec. 18, explaining, "One of our student officers did not wear the photo he was supposed to wear on his lapel and justified it by saying 'I don't have a pin, so I couldn't wear it.'"

Meanwhile, main opposition Republic People's Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel criticized Güler's handling of the situation the day after, questioning why the minister refrained from explicitly mentioning Atatürk.

"Why don't you speak of the photo they should wear on their lapels? Is it up to you to act as their lawyer?" Özel remarked,...

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