The nation marked the 98th anniversary of the Turkish national anthem yesterday. Students at schools across the city competed for the best recitation of the Independence March while the government organized events to remember the enactment and anthem's author Mehmet Akif Ersoy.
The anthem was written in 1921 by Ersoy, Turkey's national and probably best known poet during the War of Independence following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. "Fear not! For the crimson flag that waves in these dawns, shall never fade," the first verse of the anthem encouraged Turks fighting occupying foreign forces after World War I. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey, Turkey won the war and Ersoy's lengthy march of 10 stanzas was adopted as the official anthem of the new republic declared in 1923. The anthem was composed into its current form in 1930 by Osman Zeki Üngör.
"The Independence March, which has been a manifesto of the War of Independence and a symbol of our independence and resilience of our nation is our most precious common value, common voice. Values of our nation and ideals embodied in the fine verses of the great poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy are elements of national consensus that manifest itself against every threat directed at our country today as well," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a message issued on the anniversary of anthem.