Turks commemorate Atatürk on anniversary
AA photoMustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was commemorated on the 76th anniversary of his passing Nov. 7, with official and unofficial ceremonies being held across the country.
In line with custom, official ceremonies in the capital Ankara began with a state ceremony held at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk. Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu participated in the ceremony for the first time in their current capacities.
Atatürk died on Nov. 10, 1938, at the age of 58 due to health problems.
Sirens are sounded at 9:05 a.m., the exact time of his death, every Nov. 10.
In addition to Erdoğan and Davutoğlu, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader were before the mausoleum, paying homage to Atatürk at exactly 9:05 a.m.
While the state delegation was still there, the Turkish Air Force’s aerobatics team, the “Turkish Stars,” paid homage to Atatürk as well by flying over Anıtkabir and drew the shape of a heart with jet gas.
Anıtkabir filled with crowd
Afterwards, Anıtkabir was opened to visit by people who flocked in with Turkish flags, Atatürk posters and flowers. Many young visitors also took selfies with their mobile phones inside the mausoleum.
Later in the day, at a ceremony held by the Atatürk Higher Institution of Culture, Language and History, Erdoğan delivered a speech in which he pledged to honor the memory of the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
Following his death in 1938, everybody created a profile supposedly resembling Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Erdoğan said, noting that all of those profiles had actually been designed for their creators’ own ideology and interests and not Atatürk himself.
“I should say with sadness that many attempted, ruining our national unity, solidarity and even our democracy in our recent history, to legitimize themselves by exploiting the sacred memory of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” Erdoğan said, using the word “Gazi” which is a semi-religious adjective for those who are wounded in war, as he constantly does when speaking of Atatürk.
Erdoğan said he did not believe in the Atatürk who was "produced following his death" in 1938, adding that the best way of respecting his “sacred memory” would be to focus more on his actual life, lifestyle and opinions. Diplomatic missions of Turkey around the world were also the scene of ceremonies, while citizens around the country commemorated Atatürk with different shows of respect.
At one place, primary school children opened an exhibition for his memory, while elsewhere a group dedicated a nature bicycle ride to his memory. Another group chose to honor Atatürk’s memory by listening to songs which are known to have been loved by him.