Protestors took to the streets of Turkey earlier this week to protest the presence of a decorated Christmas tree. The tree that incited the protests is located in Istanbul’s Maltepe Square and immediately angered Muslims.
Crowds gathered in the center of the square with signs, some that read “Musluman noel kutlamaz” which translates to “Muslims do not celebrate Christmas.” One protester shouted “That charlatan called Santa Claus is the father of Christians! We’re a nation of the Prophet Muhammad.”
Some Muslims, including the activists from the Fatih Generation Youth Education Association felt that the Christmas decorations were a slap in the face and Turkey was not being sensitive to their religion.
This recent protest draws comparisons to a similar outcry in 2013 where citizens were upset about an inflatable Santa Claus in the country of Turkey. That year, the protest eventually led to the stabbing of the inflatable Santa Claus.
Despite being a member of NATO and considered to be an ally of the U.S., it is clear that the people of Turkey are not willing to consider Western beliefs or traditions acceptable in their nation.