Turkey marks Victory Day as Erdoğan vows resistance against 'increasing threats'
Turkey commemorated the 96th anniversary of the War of Independence on Aug. 30 Victory Day with celebrations, as politicians marked the day’s importance and stressed their determination in protecting Turkey’s independence.
“Increasing threats, violations and attacks against our country’s independence will not withhold us from our ideals and aims. The Turkish nation is defending its independence as it did 96 years ago with the inspiration from its thousands of years of historic values,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote in the guest book at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on Aug. 30.
Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, high judicial authorities, ministers and top soldiers were among guests who visited Anıtkabir as a part of official celebrations.
The day was marked by official ceremonies all around Turkey.
Erdoğan accepted visitors at the Presidential Complex, receiving state protocol, political party leaders, judicial authorities, ministers, foreign mission heads and new bureaucratic members. He will hold a reception when HDN goes to print on Aug. 30.
Aug. 30 has been celebrated as “Victory Day” for 92 years to mark the biggest battle of Turkey’s Independence War that led to the birth of the Turkish Republic a year after. It was declared as an official national holiday in 1926.
Turkey was occupied by allied forces after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War (1914-1918). The occupation prompted Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919, during which Turkish forces, led by Gen. Mustafa Kemal, eventually ousted the occupiers from Anatolia.
Turkish forces fought the last battle, Dumlupınar, from Aug. 26 to 30 in 1922, when Greek forces were decisively defeated, which was later legitimized by the Treaty of Lausanne. By the end of the year, all foreign forces had left the territories which would collectively become the new Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Turkish ministers also issued statements marking the day, with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, formerly the chief of General Staff, stressing Turkey’s determination in the “fight against terror.”
During the visit to the State Cemetery as a part of Victory Day commemorations, Akar said, “The Turkish Armed forces continues its struggle against terrorist organizations with determination and devotedness.”
“This struggle will continue until the last terrorist is defeated inside and outside of our borders,” he said.
CHP vows to struggle for democracy
Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu commemorated Victory Day in a message on his official Twitter account on Aug. 30.
Calling the day a “turning point” in Turkey’s history, Kılıçdaroğlu underlined the importance of defending independence.
“Republicans and democrats, those who demand justice and peace for all, do not have the luxury to give up in the dark times that our country is passing through now,” he said, accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) once again of creating “a one-man regime.”
“We will defend the secular state and rule of law in determination against the one-man regime, and we will democratize our republic, which was deemed as the defender of the most unfortunate ones by Atatürk,” he added.