Turkish president cancels Republic Day reception, prepares to head to site of mine disaster
President Erdoğan made the announcement shortly after receiving congratulations at the newly built presidential premises. AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the cancelation of his Republic Day reception amid plans to travel to the southern town of Ermenek in Karaman where 18 miners remain trapped after a mine flooded on Oct. 28.
“We have entirely canceled tonight’s reception. We will not hold it because we believe that, in regards to our values and traditions, it would not be appropriate to hold such a reception at a time when the hearts of all families [connected] to the accident are burning,” Erdoğan told reporters.
He made the announcement shortly after receiving congratulations from top civil servants and diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of civil society and the business world, at the newly built presidential premises, Ak Saray, which had been scheduled to hold the Oct. 29 Republic Day festivities.
Noting that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was set to travel to Ermenek shortly, Erdoğan said he would also proceed to the town later in the day.
“We have still not given up hope. Our colleagues and ministers are continuing [rescue] work there; efforts are still underway,” Erdoğan said.
Meanwhile, the Istanbul Municpality has announced that the firework show that was set to be held on the Bosphorus to mark the Republic Day has been canceled due to the disaster.
Scheduled concerts in the western city of İzmir and a Republic Day reception in Antalya have been also canceled.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has cancelled all Republic Day celebrations accompanied by music, only holding silent marches, CHP Secretary General Gürsel Tekin said, adding that their party members would only merely participate in the official Republic Day gatherings.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also decided not to hold any celebrations, with only its party members attending official gatherings.