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This article examines racist attitudes toward Atatu¨rk and Kemalism from the 1930s to the 1960s. Liberal, leftist and conservative-Islamist critics of republican Turkey’s founder and his policies have contributed to a widely shared image that, even if Kemalism was not essentially racist, the Kemalist approach to religious and ethnic minorities could hardly be described as egalitarian. Thus one is taken by surprise to uncover a parallel layer of virulent racist criticism, hidden under the deposit of decades of anti-Kemalist discourse