Turkey remembers founder Atatürk on 78th anniversary of his passing
ANKARA / ISTANBUL
AFP photoCrowds across Turkey gathered on Nov. 10 to commemorate the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on the 78th anniversary of his death.
Thousands visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk, to pay their respect to the historic leader from the early hours of the day, amid heavy security measures.
At the site’s entrance, security officers conducted clearance checks for army personnel by scanning their ID cards.
For the official annual event prepared to commemorate Atatürk, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, other commanders-in-chief of the Turkish Armed Forces, members of judiciary, and ministers walked on the main road to reach the mausoleum.
At 9.05 a.m., the moment at which Atatürk passed away in 1938 in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, all participants of the ceremony stood in silence for two minutes, a traditional commemoration practice observed on the day.
Leaving wreaths at the mausoleum, the group headed by Erdoğan advanced to the Misak-ı Milli (National Pact) Tower at Anıtkabir to write a message for the occasion.
In his note addressed to Atatürk, Erdoğan reiterated his “duty to take care of the republic, which you called your ‘greatest work’” and vowed to “advance with solid steps to be a strong, respected and thriving country in all spheres.”
Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces announced on Nov. 10 on its website that it had cancelled its special event planned for the day with the attendance of the chief of general staff and commanders-in-chief, as the top soldiers were heading to the southeastern province of Şırnak to carry out inspections in the region.
The army had planned to hold the event open to public and including the release of 1,881 pairs of red and white balloons into the sky by visitors, marking the year of Atatürk’s birth.
Crowds stand still at 09.05
Elsewhere, thousands of people joined day-long commemoration events organized by local municipalities across the country.
Life also came to a halt across the country at 9.05 a.m., with many people spotted standing in silence for two minutes, stopping their cars in the traffic and even getting out of them on highways to pay tribute to Turkey’s founding leader.
At Istanbul Atatürk Airport, announcements were made calling on passengers to respect the moment of silence when clocks hit 09.05.
Beşiktaş Municipality in Istanbul, which contains within its municipal borders the Dolmabahçe Palace where Atatürk died, also held an event at which thousands of people walked to the palace early in the morning carrying a 1,011 meter-long Turkish flag.
Special event at Hungarian Consulate
Also in Istanbul, the Marmara Group Foundation with the support of the host Hungarian Consulate, organized a commemoration service in honor of the 78th anniversary of Ataturk’s passing.
At the event, Prof. Dr. Nizami Caferov, the head of the Ataturk Center in Azerbaijan and also a member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, gave a speech on “Ataturk in Azerbaijan.”
During his speech to officials on diplomatic duty, he offered perspectives on Ataturk given through the writings and speeches of politicians Neriman Nerimanov, Mehmet Emin Resulzade and Haydar Aliyev, and covering scientific and literary works on Ataturk. In the opening address of the event, Dr. Akkan Suver and Hungarian Consul General Balázs Hendrich highlighted the respect and significance of Ataturk in Hungary as well as in Turkey.