The 93rd anniversary of Republic Day, the day the country was founded by a group of military officers who helped Turkey win its independence following a brutal war, is being marked on Saturday.
The anniversary is a celebration of Turkey's embrace of modern times and national unity shown in rebuilding the country from ruins left over by a world war and struggle for independence.
The capital Ankara is naturally at the heart of the celebrations and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosts an event to mark the anniversary at the presidential complex in Beştepe. During Erdoğan's tenure as president and previously as prime minister, Republic Day celebrations became more centered on the public's participation rather than a pompous display of military might and an occasion almost exclusive to the secular elite as it was in the past. In line with the tradition, Erdoğan will host families of soldiers and police officers killed in anti-terror operations and terror attacks as well as veterans. Civilians injured while resisting this year's July 15 coup attempt and families of those killed by pro-coup troops are also invited to the Republic Day event at the presidential complex.
The president, prime minister, cabinet members, politicians and commanders from the army also attended a ceremony at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and laid wreaths at the grave. Separate celebrations were held in other cities in the morning with an emphasis on the memory of Atatürk and his legacy.
A parade was held between the building that housed the Republic's first parliament and the new Parliament building.
Issuing a message on the occasion of Republic Day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the day marked an occasion when the Turkish nation crowned its war of independence with unprecedented bravery to challenge captivity and sanctions and invaders. "We founded the Republic of Turkey on the principle that sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation and with the purpose of elevating our country to the level of developed civilizations. The Republic is our gain from a legacy of Seljuks and Ottomans. The Republic of Turkey overcame difficulties for 93 years and made its mark among the rising powers of the world especially with its initiatives in the recent years. Turkey remains an inspiration for its region and the world with its growing economy, strong democracy, loyalty to basic humanitarian values and a principled and visionary foreign policy," Erdoğan said in his message. The president also touched on the July 15 coup attempt and said the public's resistance to the coup exhibited how integrated the nation was with the state. "Our nation showed the world that night that it would remain resistant to new attempts of invasion and its resolve is as strong as it was during War of Independence," he said. Erdoğan said in his message he was proud to be president of Turkey, of a nation of heroes.
Erdoğan assured the public in his message that Turkey was now stronger, more determined and decisive than it was before the latest coup attempt and "no attack against our unity, brotherhood, our lands, our independence, our future would succeed."
The Republic of Turkey was declared on Oct. 29, 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a commander of the Ottoman army who later spearheaded a struggle for independence and mobilized millions to fight occupying forces in the aftermath of World War I. Atatürk was elected the first president of the Republic by a unanimous vote by the newly established Parliament after the Republic's declaration. However, a multi-party democracy would take another 27 years to take hold in the new republic.