Daily Israel Report

Turkish Governor Resigns over 'Ottoman Circumcision'

Watch lavish Muslim circumcision for 'Ottoman prince' son of Turkish governor in sultan's tomb.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/30/2014, 2:57 PM

'Ottoman circumcision' in Turkey
'Ottoman circumcision' in Turkey
Screenshot

The deputy governor of the western Turkish province Bursa courted controversy, when he held an Ottoman-style Muslim circumcision ceremony for his son at the tomb of a sultan, leading officials to announce his retirement on Friday.

Mehmet Ozcan, the deputy governor, dressed his 6-year-old son as an Ottoman prince and had him led on horseback with attendants to the Hudavendigar Mosque, where the tomb of Ottoman Sultan Murad I is housed, according to Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News.

After arriving on horseback, the little "prince" sat on a throne surrounded by imperial decorations, an Ottoman military band, as well as soldiers in historic garb, court entertainers and women dressed as concubines, all in honor of his circumcision.

Photos and video taken by visitors to the mosque were shared on social media, where they triggered a storm of outcry over the "neo-Ottomanism."

In response to the public outcry, sources in the Bursa Governor’s Office told Hurriyet Daily News that Ozcan retired on Friday, claiming "Mr. Ozcan has been off-duty for a while. He took a leave of absence to organize the circumcision events. This was his last event."

The topic of state opulence may be considered particularly sensitive, given that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's banned access to Twitter and other social media after a torrent of anonymous leaks implicated his inner circle in serious corruption charges.

Further raising local unrest against Erdogan's government is the mining disaster as the town of Soma that left roughly 300 dead. Erdogan screamed an anti-Israel slur two weeks ago before sending his security forces to beat a protester at the town.

The mine disaster has led to something of a popular movement against Erdogan. The same day that Erdogan screamed the slur, Yusuf Yerkel, one of Erdogan's advisers, was caught on camera kicking a protester in Soma.

The man was being held down on the ground by two Turkish soldiers at the time; witnesses say Yerkel got in three to four kicks on the prone man. The photograph sparked rage in Turkey, and ignited more protests.