A great anniversary
The modern and secular Turkish Republic will be celebrating the 98th anniversary of its proclamation on Oct. 29. Two years later, hopefully, we will be marking the centenary of the republic. What will be the mood of the country at this Thursday’s 98th anniversary or on Oct. 29 of 2023, I cannot vouch from now, but I am confident that most of my countrymen will try to remember under what incredibly difficult conditions this nation fought and won national independence and crowned it with a republic and thus appreciate the great successes of the founding fathers.
Turkey’s War of Liberation and the foundation saga of the republic were far more than national developments but constituted a legendary example for the independence struggles of many third world nations against imperialism.
The Turkish War of Independence, for example, is the first parliament-shaped national resistance and independence war. Even at the height of the war, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk received his mandate and orders from the parliament. That is the Turkish parliament was not came to being with the decisions of victorious national liberation commanders, but the parliament itself commandeered the independence war. That’s why the Turkish War of Liberation was a sui generis one.
The principle of national sovereignty, along with the supremacy of law, are the most precious gems of the republican regime. Turkey cannot and should not compromise from national sovereignty, the supremacy of law, freedom of thought and other norms that anchored this country with the Western civilization and allowed it to prosper from a failed empire to acquire a well-deserved place in the international community of nations.
On this 98th anniversary, there might be some conjectural problems. We have to be confident that whatever difficult the conditions might be, a country that formed a miraculous republic from the ashes of the sick man of Europe, today possesses far greater capabilities to overcome whatever the challenge it might encounter with.
Hopefully, the 98th-anniversary celebrations will be marked despite the pandemic concerns.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, had once said that the creation of the republic was his greatest achievement. The republic was built on three fundamental principles. These were secularism, the supremacy of law, and of course, the supremacy of national will. A fourth element that would make Turkey a democracy but that was not so much present in the founding period was freedom of thought. Over the years, Turkey acquired that principle also to some degree.
We ought to be proud of our republic and have confidence in its future.