Mon. May 27th, 2024

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s authorities marked the a hundredth anniversary of the creation of the trendy, secular republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire on Sunday with a firework and drone present in Istanbul in addition to a procession of 100 hundred navy ships however little else in the best way of pageantry.

The slightly muted celebration of the centennial, which included no gala reception, got here months after a devastating earthquake that killed 50,000 folks and coincided with the Israeli-Hamas warfare that has roiled the Center East.

The low-key celebrations precipitated dismay amongst many in Turkey who consider Erdogan’s authorities, which finds its roots in Turkey’s Islamic motion, is making an attempt to undermine the legacy of the secular republic’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Erdogan on Sunday noticed the standard protocol of laying a wreath at Ataturk’s mausoleum within the capital and shook fingers with a procession of ambassadors and high-level officers providing their congratulations earlier than touring to Istanbul to look at the navy ships’ procession.

The Turkish chief later delivered a speech at 19:23 p.m. in honor of the 12 months the republic was proclaimed. He expressed his gratitude to Ataturk and others who helped create the republic but in addition highlighted his personal achievements throughout his 20-year rule.

Late within the night, he posted an announcement on X, the platform previously generally known as Twitter, declaring Monday a college vacation in honor of the centennial.

Earlier this 12 months, Erdogan invited a slew of overseas leaders to have fun his reelection for a 3rd time period as president however has been criticized for not internet hosting a reception to mark the republic’s main milestone. State broadcaster TRT introduced it was canceling particular centennial applications because of the warfare in Gaza.

Many in Turkey held their very own non-public celebrations, joined processions holding torchlights and waving Turkish flags, or took half in occasions organized by opposition-run municipalities.

In Istanbul, tens of hundreds celebrated the anniversary at a live performance organized by the town’s common mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu. Within the capital, Ankara, tens of hundreds of others flocked to Ataturk’s mausoleum, many dressed within the flag’s purple and white colours.

Many stated the official lineup of occasions didn’t do the centennial justice.

’’The federal government did its finest to make these celebrations forgotten and to trivialize them,” stated Gul Erbil, a 66-year-old retired movie director who stated she would toast the centennial at a restaurant with buddies. “The unhappy factor is … it’s (their) republic too. It’s one thing that gave (them) freedom, too.”

Meral Aksener, the chief of the center-right opposition IYI Celebration, accused the federal government of not lacking the chance to make sure the “a hundredth 12 months (celebration) falls flat.”

“There are those that nonetheless have an issue with our republic 100 years later,” Aksener stated. She and others consider a mass pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday throughout which Erdogan escalated his criticism of Israel’s army actions in Gaza was specifically organized to overshadow the centennial celebration.

However Ahmet Hakan, columnist for the pro-government Hurriyet newspaper, says the scaled-back celebration turned “inevitable” as a consequence of Israel’s actions in Gaza, which have triggered a wave of protests significantly in Muslim-majority nations, in response to Hamas’ assault on Israel on Oct. 7.

A World Battle I hero who went on to guide a warfare of independence towards occupying forces, Ataturk proclaimed the Turkish Republic on Oct. 29, 1923. He launched into a sequence of radical reforms aimed toward turning the bulk Muslim nation right into a secular, Western-style democracy. He abolished the caliphate, changed the Arabic script with the Latin alphabet and gave girls the correct to vote.

Ataturk continues to be held in excessive regard within the nation the place his portraits dangle on partitions of colleges, workplaces and houses. Visitors involves a standstill as hundreds observe a minute of silence on the anniversary of his loss of life. His signature is tattooed on arms.

However not all sections of society have been on board with Ataturk’s reforms. Erdogan and his non secular help base take delight in Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic previous. Erdogan pays homage to Ataturk’s army achievements as an officer of the Ottoman Empire, however not often praises his republican period.

The Turkish chief speaks of ushering in a brand new period he has dubbed “The Century of Turkey,” with a brand new structure that may uphold conservative household values and would haven’t any room for what he has referred to as “deviant” LGBTQ+ rights.

“As we speak, our Republic completes its first century and sails into its second century, which we name ‘the Century of Turkey,'” Erdogan stated in his speech, including that his authorities’s purpose for the upcoming interval was to introduce a “structure that befits the centenary of our republic.”

“Erdogan desires to see Turkey turn into (a rustic) that embraces Erdogan’s values, that’s socially conservative, not essentially a part of the West and likewise, I’d say, has a big function for Islam from training to public coverage,” stated Soner Cagaptay, an professional on Turkey on the Washington Institute and creator of books on Erdogan.

Critics say the Turkish chief has already moved Turkey additional away from Ataturk’s imaginative and prescient.

Official features right this moment usually start with prayers. The Directorate of Spiritual Affairs has been given a big price range that dwarfs most different ministries. The variety of non secular colleges has elevated in step with Erdogan’s acknowledged aim of making a “pious technology.”

In 2020, Erdogan transformed the previous Byzantine-era church Hagia Sophia — which was become a mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul — again right into a functioning mosque. Ataturk had reworked the construction right into a museum in a nod to its Christian and Muslim legacy.


Robert Badendieck contributed from Istanbul.

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