A 20-year old Turkish woman shows her Ataturk tattoo in Istanbul, Turkey on 26 July 2010. The tattooed signature of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern republic of Turkey, is becoming an increasingly common symbol of opposition to the countries ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
A young woman in Istanbul shows off her tattoo of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's signature.

Secularists forge indelible link to Ataturk

ISTANBUL // The flourish of ink jumps out amid the crowds on the teeming Istiklal pedestrian street and on ferries making their rounds across the Bosphorus, the distinctive flow of the signature instantly recognisable.

With increasing frequency a tattoo of the signature "K. Ataturk" can be seen on the bodies of Turks, a show of support for the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic and the symbol of the country's secular establishment. But as Turkey's Islamist government grows ever stronger and Ataturk's legacy appears to diminish, many secular Turks are becoming more vocal - and more visual - in their support of the late army general's legacy.

"This tattoo is getting more and more popular every day, especially among young people," said Murat Arti, a tattoo artist and the owner of Tattoo Murat in the Sisli district of Istanbul. "They think the government is trying to make them forget Ataturk. The government is even trying to change the constitution now." For devotees, Ataturk is seen as a symbol of progressiveness and modernisation, values that members of the country's opposition fear are under threat from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its roots in political Islam.

Over the past decade, the AKP has reformed the banking system and increased trade and other ties with the country's neighbours, transforming Turkey into one of the region's strongest economies. Yet many members of the opposition believe that the AKP's success is a cover for their long-term plan to consolidate power and possibly even turn the country into an Islamic republic. "Just like it happened in Iran," Mr Arti said. "They got rid of the shah and it became more religious and conservative. AKP is trying to do the same in Turkey."

From Izmir to Istanbul, tattoo parlours such as the one owned by Mr Arti do the tattoo free of charge or at a low price to make opposition to AKP more visible. Mr Arti does the tattoo free every April, his birthday month. This April, he said, 300 people requested the tattoo, by far the most he has done in the five years he has been offering it. The growing number of people requesting the Ataturk tattoo comes at a time of increased politicisation ahead of a referendum in September on controversial amendments to the constitution proposed by the AKP. The referendum is widely viewed as a litmus test for how the AKP will fare in the 2011 parliamentary elections and opposition parties are campaigning hard for a "No" vote.

Speaking to foreign journalists last week, Sadullah Ergin, the justice minister, referred to the reforms as "timid". Backed by the EU, the reforms are aimed at reining in the country's judiciary, which has in the past interfered in the decision-making process of the government. Opposition members believe they will give AKP too much power over the Constitutional Court and the supreme board of public prosecutors and judges and further the party's consolidation of power.

"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." Opinion polls show that more Turks may share Mr Demir's view. According to a poll this month by the Istanbul-based research group Sonar Arastirma, the Republican People's Party (CHP), Turkey's main opposition party, had pulled ahead of the AKP, one of the first times it has done so since AKP was re-elected in 2007. According to the results, 33.5 per cent of respondents said they would vote CHP while 31.1 per cent said they would vote AKP.

Yet even as the CHP's new leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, goes from city to city campaigning for a "No" vote, the result of next month's referendum is far from decided. "The result is not certain yet," said Ayhan Kaya, a professor of international relations at Istanbul's Bilgi University. "People are undecided at the moment. The referendum is turning out to be a kind of test for AKP." 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.

Mr Garcia, whose mother is Turkish and father Spanish, said the signature the tattoo is based on comes from the document Ataturk signed to abolish the old Ottoman alphabet and start using an alphabet based on the Latin script, a sign of Turkey's desire to share a European mindset. "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," Mr 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." @Email:foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.


For Euro 2024 qualifers away to Malta on June 16 and at home to North Macedonia on June 19:

Goalkeepers Johnstone, Pickford, Ramsdale.

Defenders Alexander-Arnold, Dunk, Guehi, Maguire, Mings, Shaw, Stones, Trippier, Walker.

Midfielders Bellingham, Eze, Gallagher, Henderson, Maddison, Phillips, Rice.

Forwards Foden, Grealish, Kane, Rashford, Saka, Wilson.

Email sent to Uber team from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi

From: Dara

To: Team@

Date: March 25, 2019 at 11:45pm PT

Subj: Accelerating in the Middle East

Five years ago, Uber launched in the Middle East. It was the start of an incredible journey, with millions of riders and drivers finding new ways to move and work in a dynamic region that’s become so important to Uber. Now Pakistan is one of our fastest-growing markets in the world, women are driving with Uber across Saudi Arabia, and we chose Cairo to launch our first Uber Bus product late last year.

Today we are taking the next step in this journey—well, it’s more like a leap, and a big one: in a few minutes, we’ll announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Careem. Importantly, we intend to operate Careem independently, under the leadership of co-founder and current CEO Mudassir Sheikha. I’ve gotten to know both co-founders, Mudassir and Magnus Olsson, and what they have built is truly extraordinary. They are first-class entrepreneurs who share our platform vision and, like us, have launched a wide range of products—from digital payments to food delivery—to serve consumers.

I expect many of you will ask how we arrived at this structure, meaning allowing Careem to maintain an independent brand and operate separately. After careful consideration, we decided that this framework has the advantage of letting us build new products and try new ideas across not one, but two, strong brands, with strong operators within each. Over time, by integrating parts of our networks, we can operate more efficiently, achieve even lower wait times, expand new products like high-capacity vehicles and payments, and quicken the already remarkable pace of innovation in the region.

This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in various countries, which we don’t expect before Q1 2020. Until then, nothing changes. And since both companies will continue to largely operate separately after the acquisition, very little will change in either teams’ day-to-day operations post-close. Today’s news is a testament to the incredible business our team has worked so hard to build.

It’s a great day for the Middle East, for the region’s thriving tech sector, for Careem, and for Uber.

Uber on,


SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Company Profile

Company: Astra Tech
Started: March 2022
Based: Dubai
Founder: Abdallah Abu Sheikh
Industry: technology investment and development
Funding size: $500m

Key developments

All times UTC+4


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

How does ToTok work?

The calling app is available to download on Google Play and Apple App Store

To successfully install ToTok, users are asked to enter their phone number and then create a nickname.

The app then gives users the option add their existing phone contacts, allowing them to immediately contact people also using the application by video or voice call or via message.

Users can also invite other contacts to download ToTok to allow them to make contact through the app.



Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)


Company: Growdash
Started: July 2022
Founders: Sean Trevaskis and Enver Sorkun
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Restaurant technology
Funding so far: $750,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, Plus VC, Judah VC, TPN Investments and angel investors, including former Talabat chief executive Abdulhamid Alomar, and entrepreneur Zeid Husban


Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh



Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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