Turkey will eliminate all threats against its existence, Erdoğan says on ‘Victory Day’
Turkey will preserve its determination to defeat all “threats, attacks and attempts to sabotage its economic and political independence,” just as it did in the War of Independence 95 years ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in his message marking “Victory Day” on Aug. 30.
Victory Day marks the Turkish victory against Greek forces at the Battle of Dumlupınar, the final battle of the War of Independence in 1922.
“The unyielding fight we have been waging against bloody terrorist organizations such as [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ, [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] DAESH, the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK, and the [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party] PYD is the clearest example of our determination, without making any compromises on on the law, justice and democracy. With its struggle, Turkey not only protects its citizens but also contributes to global security. Turkey will continue to eliminate threats against its existence at their root,” Erdoğan stated.
“The Victory of Aug. 30 is the declaration of our nation’s will to the entire world to live independently on its homeland, which it deems to be more precious than its own life. Having shaped the history with its political and social consequences, this victory became a source of inspiration and hope for many oppressed nations who fought a war of independence against imperialists,” he added.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu highlighted the theme of “justice” in his message issued to mark the anniversary of Victory Day.
“Our love for freedom and independence has been alive from Aug. 30, 1922 until today. All citizens of this country will live as equal rights, justice will rule, and the government will fulfill its duty by giving account to the people and respecting the people. The guarantee of independence and freedom is justice,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated in the message.
Meanwhile, ceremonies marking the day were held across the country.
Celebrations began with an official ceremony at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Erdoğan and political leaders, including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and military commanders attended the ceremony.
Erdoğan was welcomed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.
He left a wreath on Atatürk’s mausoleum and signed the Anıtkabir memorial book.
After Erdoğan laid a wreath at the mausoleum, a moment of silence was observed and the Turkish National Anthem, the Independence March, was sung.
In his message in the memorial book, Erdoğan referred to last year’s failed military coup attempt.
“The legendary resistance waged on the night of July 15 was a manifestation of our country’s determination to eliminate all threats against its economic and political independence. We will continue to protect and strengthen our homeland, which your greatness and our glorious martyrs entrusted to us, at the risk of our lives,” he noted.
“When we established our Republic with the power from the victory on Aug. 30, we decided to raise our target ‘above the level of contemporary civilization.’ Turkey is on this path, in line with your goals,” he added.
Meanwhile, a parade was organized to mark the day, starting at 13.00 p.m. in front of the current parliament building and heading to the previous parliament building in the Ulus district of Ankara. Some of the roads in the capital were temporarily closed to traffic, as security measures were tightened on the ground and in the air.
Like last year, when celebrations were held just over a month after the coup attempt, heavy weapons such as tanks, cannons, armored carriers, launching pads, military planes and helicopters were not present at this year’s parade.
Following his attendance at the ceremony at Anıtkabir, Erdoğan hosted a reception at the presidential complex in Ankara.
Guests included the families of killed soldiers and security forces, NGO representatives, politicians and officers from all ranks, artists, journalists, chiefs of foreign missions, and military attaches.
In the past, the highest official level reception to mark Victory Day was hosted at the General Staff Headquarters instead of the presidential Çankaya Palace. However, an amendment to the regulation governing national and official festivals, ceremonies and celebrations was passed in May 2012, transferring responsibility for hosting the Victory Day reception from the chief of general staff to the president.
The victory under Atatürk over the Greek military on Aug. 30, 1922 was the last large engagement between the two armies in Turkey’s War of Independence. The war began with the Greek invasion of İzmir in May 1919 after the end of World War I, with tacit support from the Allied countries in the war, especially Great Britain.