Istanbul mayor plans inclusive religious commemoration of Republic founder

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu will hand out food and recite a religious poem to commemorate Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on Nov. 10, the 81st anniversary of his death, Turkish news site Gazete Yolculuk reported on Friday.

The mayor’s planned ceremonies are pointedly inclusive of Turkey’s most widespread religious denominations on a day reserved to commemorate the leader who forged the country into a secular republic.

The ceremonies will be held at three different locations, including a mosque and jemevi, the place of worship for Turkey’s Alevi religious minority.

The choice to recite a religious poem usually read to commemorate the life of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad at the Eyüp Sultan Mosque casts a conservative, religious tone to the celebration of Turkey’s most important secularist figure, whose Republican Peoples’ Party İmamoğlu is a member of.

İmamoğlu will also take part in an activity deemed important by the Alevi minority by giving out food at the Karacaahmet Sultan Jemevi in Beylikdüzü district, where he served as mayor before winning the contest for Istanbul province this year.