Turkish teenager detained for 'insulting' Ataturk
The teenager was filmed by his classmates at a school in Uskudar, a conservative district of the capital Istanbul, crumpling a photograph of the "Father of Turks" before jokingly rubbing it over his crotch, reported Turkish media.
Footage of the incident circulated widely on X, formerly known as Twitter, leading to the boy's arrest by police on Wednesday, according to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
The news sparked controversy in Turkey, with Ataturk revered among large sections of the population for establishing the Turkish Republic and its secular, democratic founding principles in 1923.
In a statement, the Turkish internal affairs ministry said the teenager - whose identity was revealed – had "insulted the spiritual personality" of the country's first president.
Videos of the boy appearing in court, alongside his arrest, where he was marched with his arm twisted behind his back through the school, were broadcast by many television channels.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition CHP, condemned the treatement of the teenager, claiming he was a victim of indoctrination by those in power.
While denouncing the act's "ugliness", he wrote on X it should "not mean punishing a child who has been trained, deceived and subjected to such brainwashing".
Under Turkish law, anyone who publicly disrespects Ataturk can be jailed for up to three years, while those who destroy or spoil a tribute to him may receive five years.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been repeatedly accused of trying to shift focus away from Ataturk onto himself and undermining secularism in the country.