Turkey marks 94th year of Turkish Republic with celebrations
The official proclamation of the Republic of Turkey by the newly emerged parliament in 1923 was celebrated on its 94th anniversary on Oct. 29, with official ceremonies and public gatherings around the country.
Official celebrations started at Atatürk’s mausoleum Anıtkabir in the early hours of Oct. 29, as top state officials and protocol members gathered to mark Republic Day in Ankara.
The event saw the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, other state officials and protocol members.
“The spirit that vitalizes our republic is standing firm today, as was true 94 years ago,” Erdoğan wrote in the official notebook of Anıtkabir.
“The Republic of Turkey, which is the legacy you left to us, is the result of an uphill struggle full of valor and sacrifice,” he added.
“As we celebrate our Republic’s 94th year, we commemorate the memory of our veterans, particularly you and your comrades in arms, and we request God’s mercy for our martyrs,” he wrote.
Following the visit, official ceremonies continued with presidential receptions at the Presidential Palace at Beştepe in Ankara.
Erdoğan received state officials in the palace receptions, though CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu did not attend.
On Oct. 29, 1923, the newly founded parliament in Ankara proclaimed the regime of Turkey as a republic and voted to name it the “Republic of Turkey.” A vote was then held in the parliament, in which Atatürk was elected as the first president of the Republic of Turkey in a unanimous vote. Since then, Turkey has celebrated Republic Day every year on Oct. 29.
Parades around Turkey
In many cities around Turkey, Republic Day celebrations started with torchlight parades late on Oct. 28.
In Ankara, the official dress parade started from the current parliamentary building to the first parliament building where the proclamation took place in 1923. Anıtkabir also received thousands of visitors after the official ceremony.
İzmir, İstanbul, Bursa, Erzurum, Hatay, Antalya and Sivas were among other cities that marked the Republic day with dress parades and outdoor activities.
In Istanbul, around 2,000 motorcyclists from all around Turkey came together in a convoy to mark the day. The long line of drivers crossed the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge and headed to the Edirnekapı Martyrs’ Cemetery.
Politicians on Twitter
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu and MHP leader Bahçeli celebrated Oct. 29 through their official Twitter accounts.
“I promise to protect the republic and democracy forever. I commemorate the Veteran Mustafa Kemal Atatürk with gratefulness on our Republic’s 94th year,” Kılıçdaroğlu wrote.
“All the basic problems that our republic, which is the expression of sovereignty, faces today will be overcome with our youth and all other citizens’ deep loyalty to the principles of the democratic, secular and social state of law,” he added.
“The Republic of Turkey will always exist. No enemy’s no traitor’s power will be enough to block it. People will stand for its Republic,” wrote Bahçeli.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kars deputy Ayhan Bilgen also wrote on his official Twitter account, calling for an “objective assessment” of the “gains and losses of 94 years.”
“We must overcome all kinds of epic words and pretentious acts, bravely confronting how the republic can embrace outcasts today,” Bilgen wrote.
Meral Akşener, the leader of newly founded Good Party (İyi Parti) also celebrated the republic through her social media account.
“We express gratitude to the republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades one more time,” Akşener wrote.
US, Russia convey messages
U.S. President Donald Trump celebrated Republic Day with an official message on Oct. 29, amid heightened tension between the two NATO allies leading to the mutual suspension of visa services.
In his message read out by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon Jr. during a reception hosted by Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Serdar Kılıç on Oct. 27, Trump emphasized the long-time alliance between the two countries.
“On behalf of the American people, I would like to extend my best wishes to the Turkish people for the 94th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The two NATO allies have been standing side by side for over 60 years,” Trump said.
He also noted that 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Turkey sending its first ambassador to the U.S., which showed how far back relations between the two countries go.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his good wishes to all Turkish people on the occasion of Republic Day, as presidential sources reported that Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart had phone discussions on a number of issues on Oct. 28.