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HomeBalkansCentenary of Turkish Republic Celebrated with Flags and Fireworks

Centenary of Turkish Republic Celebrated with Flags and Fireworks

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People across the country took part in celebrations on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on October 29, 1923.

“The Republic of Turkey is a venerable treasure that has been passed from hand to hand, from heart to heart and from generation to generation for thousands of years. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of our republic with the pride of having such a strong, rich and deep-rooted background as a nation,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to the nation.

President Erdogan started the celebrations by visiting Ataturk’s tomb in Ankara with government officials.

In Istanbul, the Turkish navy including the country’s first aircraft carrier, TCG Anadolu, saluted Erdogan and tens of thousands of Istanbul residents across the Bosporus, while warplanes conducted showpiece aerial manoeuvres.

President Erdogan’s Islamist government has been criticised by opposition parties, civil society groups, academics and members of the public for keeping the official celebrations relatively low-key.

Erdogan, a political Islamist, is known for his discomfort with Turkey’s founding father and his secular republic.

Ruling party and government officials denied they were cutting back on the celebrations but no official reception was held by Erdogan to mark such a significant occasion.

Instead of having a massive celebration for the republican centennial, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP staged a mass rally with hundreds of thousands of people in Istanbul on Saturday to support the Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.

However, this did not stop Turkish people proudly celebrating the republic’s centenary. Millions of citizens attended marches, concerts and festivals across the country organised by local administrations.

Istanbul was the centre of republican celebrations. The Istanbul municipality, which is controlled by the main opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP, organised concerts and other events.

Istanbulites also enjoyed fireworks and light shows on the Bosporus after dark.

People in Ankara paid tribute at Ataturk’s tomb and watched military parades in the city.

Ataturk and his allies announced the foundation of the secular republic on October 29, 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence, ending the rule of the Ottoman Sultans who dominated the country for centuries.

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