Turkey marks 102nd anniversary of Sivas Congress
“Today, we take every step with the sense of commitment to the decisions taken at the Sivas Congress, which form the basis of the Republic of Turkey,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a statement.
Noting that the Congress was held amid various hardships, Erdoğan said the determination and devotion of the Turkish nation, however, overcame obstacles and consequently won the War of Independence.
He also paid tribute to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and all soldiers who participated in the Turkish War of Independence.
In a Twitter post, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said: “On the 102nd anniversary of the Sivas Congress, where the foundations of our independence were laid, I commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and all heroes of the Turkish War of Independence with mercy and gratitude.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Şentop stressed the importance of the Sivas Congress. Belief, dedication and determination are what shaped the resolutions in the congress, Şentop said.
The pivotal congress of the Turkish National Movement was held in the eastern Sivas province on Sept. 4, 1919, when Turkey was fighting its War of Independence.
“Here were made decisions that prepared the independence of a nation,” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, once said about the congress.
At the congress, Atatürk continued the struggle for national liberation which he started in the Black Sea province of Samsun province on May 19 of the same year.
Leaving Amasya in the Black Sea region, he went to Sivas on June 27, a city he called a “reliable city.”
During the meeting in Sivas, the situation of the country was discussed and it was decided to hold a national congress in the city as soon as possible.
Atatürk gave the directives about the Sivas Congress and went to Erzurum to gather a congress on June 28. He came back to Sivas on Sept. 2 and stayed there until Dec. 18.
A group under Atatürk’s leadership laid the basis of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey on Sept. 4, 1919, in the building known today as Atatürk Congress and Ethnography Museum.
According to records, during the seven-day congress, various proposals were discussed for the liberation of the nation, and it ended on Sept. 11, 1919, with the publication of a final declaration.
“Either independence or death,” Atatürk said about the principles reached by the congress.
This movement led to a great victory on Sept. 9, 1922, and was crowned with the proclamation of the republic on Oct. 29, 1923.