93rd Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey

Cumhuriyet Bayramınız kutlu olsun!

To commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the official founding of the Republic of Turkey, I’m passing on this piece posted on the Turkish Coalition of America website:

unnamedOn October 29, 1923, the newly recognized Turkish parliament proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, formally marking the end of the Ottoman Empire. On the same day, Mustafa Kemal, who led the Turkish National War of Liberation and was later named Atatürk (father of Turks), was unanimously elected as the first president of the Republic.

Turkey had effectively been a republic from April 23, 1920 when the Grand National Assembly was inaugurated in Ankara. When the Turkish parliament held its first session in 1920, virtually every corner of the crumbling Ottoman Empire was under the occupation of Allied powers. Exasperated by the Ottoman government’s inability to fight the occupation, the nationwide resistance movement gained momentum. With the Allied occupation of Istanbul and the dissolution of the Ottoman Parliament, Mustafa Kemal’s justification for opening the resistance movement’s new legislative body was created.

With the opening of the Assembly, Ankara became the center of the Turkish national struggle for liberation. The National War of Liberation culminated in the emancipation of Anatolia from foreign occupation, the international recognition of modern Turkey’s borders by the Treaty of Lausanne, and finally, the founding of the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. October 29, or Republic Day, is an official Turkish holiday celebrated each year across Turkey and by peoples of Turkish heritage worldwide.

Following the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk embarked on a wide-ranging set of reforms in the political, economic and cultural aspects of Turkish society. These reforms have left a lasting legacy of which the peoples of Turkish heritage are proud: the conversion of the newly founded Republic into today’s modern, democratic and secular Turkish state.


2 thoughts on “93rd Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey

  1. I’ve just read a fascinating novel by Victoria Hislop called The Thread about the massive exchange of Turkish and Greek populations in 1923 following the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. She writes it from the point of view of a Greek family forced to leave Turkey and a Turkish family forced to leave Thessaloniki. Sephardic Jews (from Spain), Greeks and Turkish Muslims were all extremely well integrated in the same communities prior to the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire and all groups seem to have suffered equally from the forced segregation imposed by European authorities.

    • That sounds like a book worth reading. Another novel worth a look is Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres. It deals with the last years of the Ottoman Empire, from the point of view of villagers caught up in global events beyond their control. My Turkish partner’s father came to Anatolia with his family from Thessaloniki (Salonika) after the Greeks took it over. Mark Mazower published a thought-provoking history of that city, Salonika, City of Ghosts.

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