Turkey remembers Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on his death anniversary
AA photoThousands flocked to the mausoleum of the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in Ankara to commemorate the leader who passed away 77 years ago on Nov. 10.
Anıtkabir will be open to visit until 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 in an event that sees tens of thousands of people gather every year.
The facility has been decorated with a placard by the army, reading that the nation will remember Atatürk longingly.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Parliament Speaker İsmet Yılmaz, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli attended the commemoration ceremony at the mausoleum, known as Anıtkabir.
Erdoğan signed the official Anıtkabir memorial book at the Misak-ı Milli (National Pact) Tower.
“We are continuing to work tirelessly towards the goal you set of ‘reaching and going beyond the level of contemporary civilization.’ Despite internal and external enemies, we will have fulfilled your will by reaching the targets we have set for 2023, which is the centenary of our Republic,” he wrote in the notebook.
Davutoğlu wrote on his Twitter account; “I commemorate the great statesman and the founder of our Republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with respect and gratitude on [the anniversary] of the day we bid him farewell.”
The commemoration ceremonies are taking place across the country, but the center of attraction is the grand mausoleum complex that also houses a museum.
Daily life stopped for two minutes, beginning at 9:05 a.m., the time of Atatürk’s death. Sirens wailed throughout Turkey and people observed two minutes of silence, regardless of being in traffic on a busy highway in Istanbul or at a cafe or restaurant. The students also held a minute of silence for Atatürk at 9:05, with schools hosting ceremonies. Flags were flown at half-mast to commemorate the first president of the Republic of Turkey.
A human chain was organized in the coastal city of İzmir to show respect for Atatürk. Thousands carried a long Turkish flag in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul on the morning of Nov. 10, as people also gathered with flags in hand in the Kadıköy district, located on the Anatolian side of the city.
A ceremony was held in Atatürk’s room at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace, where he spent his last days.
Wreaths were laid on the Atatürk statue in Taksim in central Istanbul. Members of the Istanbul Classical Cars Association toured the city with 77 cars while wearing Atatürk masks.
Atatürk was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki in what was then the Ottoman Empire. He made his mark in the military in 1915 when he led forces to repel the allied invasion in Canakkale, known in the West as the Dardanelles.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Atatürk led the Turkish War of Independence, which defeated European powers hoping to invade the crumbled empire. When he became president, Atatürk transformed the former empire into a modern and secular country.