Anti-Santa campaigns heat up in Turkey as Christmas arrives

Photo: Anti-Santa campaigns heat up in Turkey as Christmas arrives  / Turkey

A Muslim youth group and a neighborhood authority led two separate anti-Santa campaigns on the eve of Christmas in Turkey hurriyet daily news reported.

The Istanbul University branch of a group called Anatolia Youth Association (AGD) released an illustration of a Muslim youth punching Santa Claus in the face and announced that it would make a press statement against Christmas on Dec. 26 in Istanbul.

The group announced the event with a statement titled "Muslim, return to yourself!" adding that "Christmas is a Christianity practice." The group also criticized the celebration of New Year's Day, saying that the two dates were "mixed" and "united." It claimed that celebrating Christmas and New Year's Day was "wrong" and constituted "a blow dealt to Muslimism."

Earlier this week, the Şirinevler muhtar, the head of the neighborhood, hung a banner making it clear that Santa Claus was not welcome on their streets.

"As in recent years, Santa Claus will not be coming to Şirinevler since he is nothing to do with our traditions and our culture," muhtar Galip Karayigit said in the statement. "[Turk legend character] Dede Korkut will come to our houses again, and will teach our children that they did not come into this world for pleasure, that they came to distribute justice."

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