Turks Remember Secular Founder
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Thousands of Turks filed passed the burial place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on Wednesday to pay tribute to the man who founded modern, secular Turkey.
Police arrested one demonstrator who disrupted a minute of silence observed at 9:05 a.m., the time Ataturk died 61 years ago. The man was carrying leaflets praising an Islamic sect, private NTV television reported.
Security has been tight at the mausoleum since a strong supporter of Ataturk’s secular principles was killed in a bomb attack last month by suspected Islamic militants. Last year, police said they thwarted an attack planned to disrupt celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the Turkish republic.
Soldiers in uniform and plain clothes stood guard Wednesday as thousands of military officers and school children walked past the memorial. Some left flowers.
Turkey’s powerful military has pledged to upheld the secular republic established by Ataturk _ a military hero who led Turkey’s war of independence against invading forces.