MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK Tattoo, KEMAL ATATÜRK Tattoo Signature, ATATÜRK Tattoos

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Politics may go more than skin deep in Turkey, where an increasing number of people are choosing to permanently ink allegiances into their flesh.

According to tattoo artists, there has been a rise in the number of people demanding visible body art to show support for modern Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

And, as the country readies for a constitutional shake-up that some fear will see the secular state set up by Ataturk give way to Islamist rule, the tattoos are considered by some as a way of registering protest.

Emrah Cakin, who runs Istanbul’s RedCat tattoo studio, says he has seen a “day-by-day” rise in demand for Ataturk tattoos, with more people seeking the former leader’s signature or image inked on their arms.

“In the past people had their Ataturk tattoos on their chest but nowadays people have their Ataturk artwork on their arms — which are more visible,” he told CNN.

Tattoos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s signature, founder of the modern day secular Turkey, is becoming more of a popular choice among secular Turks.

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK TATTOO

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK TATTOO

“This tattoo is getting more and more popular every day, especially among young people,” Murat Arti, a tattoo artist and the owner of Tattoo Murat in the Sisli district of Istanbul, told the UAE-based THE NATIONAL newspaper.

“Turkey is going down,” said Cihan Demir, 21, who is planning to get the tattoo. “Ataturk was trying to make Turkey better than the old Turkey. Today, nationalism is up and terror is back. Religion is coming from the government.”

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK TATTOO

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK TATTOO

Daniel Garcia, the owner of Inkstanbul Tattoo shop, offers free Ataturk tattoos every November 10, the date Ataturk died and the day he is traditionally remembered. His three tattoo artists have to work all day to accommodate the number of customers.

According to Garcia, whose mother is Turkish and father Spanish, the signature comes from the document Ataturk signed to abolish the old Arabic-based Ottoman alphabet for Turkey to start using the Latin-based one; a well-understood step to make Turkey more similar to Europe.

“Sixty per cent of the people that get the tattoo don’t have any others,” he said. “They don’t usually like tattoos, but they like this sign so it has to be small and it has to be somewhere special.”

Most people request the tattoo on their arm or hand. Others prefer it over their heart.

“You know we have two types of people here in Turkey,” Garcia said. “The people that adore Ataturk and the ones that adore fundamentalism. I think it’s a great tattoo for anyone that wants to give a message.”

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