Turks worldwide celebrate the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye

Sunday 29 October 2023 marked the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye and the milestone was celebrated by Turks worldwide.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led the Turkish government and fellow politicians to pay their respects to the founding father of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, by laying the customary wreath at his mausoleum, Anıtkabir, in Ankara and stated afterwards, “Our country is in safe hands, you may rest in peace.”

In a speech about the Turkish Republic on Sunday evening, President Erdoğan expressed his gratitude to Atatürk and others who helped create the republic, while also highlighting his own achievements during his 20-year rule. He also declared Monday a school holiday in honour of the centennial.

SoloTürk – the Turkish Air Force’s aerobatic display team – performed a stunning display over Anıtkabir to the delight of the thousands of people assembled there. There were also military and civilian parades, and flybys with planes carving ‘100’ into the skies across the country.

The Turkish navy put on its largest ever ceremonial parade along the Istanbul Strait, which featured 100 ships — one for each year of the Turkish Republic. It included the domestically produced TCG Anadolu — the largest ship in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

Yet many planned official events in Türkiye, including a gala reception by the President and First Lady, were cancelled or muted due, in part, to the tragic events in Gaza, drawing fierce criticism from some members of the public and opposition politicians alike.

Meral Akşener, leader of the centre-right IYI Party, complained that the “100th year (celebration) falls flat.”

For most in Türkiye, however, there was plenty of activities to enjoy as many AKP and opposition municipalities and local communities went ahead with their centenary events.

Streets were dressed with Turkish flags, there was traditional and contemporary cultural festivals and music concerts, as well as fireworks at night, including a spectacular display over the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

In Izmir and Antalya, there were giant torchlit processions around the streets of the two cities at night to celebrate, while in Diyarbakır there was a big community street cycle, while children enjoyed a kite festival at Hançepek Square.

The Turkish Treasury also printed a special commemorate 5 Turkish Lira coin for the occasion.

Similarly, Turkish diplomats and the Turkish diaspora held hundreds of events to celebrate this vital date.

Turkish embassies and consulates from around the world, including those in Abuja and Athens, and from Baku to Beijing, shared pictures of the receptions and gala events they hosted, attended by  dignitaries and Turkish community members

In the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots held their own big street parade in Lefkoşa, among them President Ersin Tatar.

In London, there was multiple balls in honour of the Turkish Republic’s centenary, including a plush £750-a-head bash at the National History Museum, and other more modestly priced events at the Royal Garden Hotel and Hilton London, both in Kensington.

Soprano Sibel Demir wowed the guests at the Royal Garden Hotel, which included the Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Azerbaijani ambassadors, Osman Koray Ertaş, Çimen Keskin and Elin Suleymanov, with her rendition of Atatürk’s favourite songs, before pop star Sibel Tüzün got everyone on the dancefloor with covers of some of Türkiye’s biggest pop hits of the past forty years.

Presidential Orchestra perform at Turkiye’s second Parliament in Ankara, 29 Oct 2023

Also in London, the Yunus Emre Institute organised a centenary classical music concert at the Royal College of Music with the support of the Turkish Embassy. The music was performed by the London Chamber Orchestra and included the world premiere of distinguished Turkish composer Yalçın Tura’s latest piano concerto that featured pianist Pınar Çelik Warsi. Guiding this special musical journey on the night was Tura’s son and Principal Conductor of the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra Hasan Niyazi Tura.

Bayar and Band. Over in Sydney, there was an all-day community Turkish festival at Wyatt Park in Lidcombe to mark the occasion.Turks celebrated with events across Australia, including a gala night organised by members of the Alevi Cultural Centre  at The Renaissance in Melbourne, where guests were treated to traditional folk dancing and music by Levant Artan and Ozkan

In Germany, the Philharmonie’s Grand Hall hosted a spectacular classical music concert featuring 90-member team of the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra (IDSO).

The film “Cumhuriyet” was shown at the Yunus Emre Institute in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo to commemorate the centenary of Turkish Republic. Directed by Ziya Öztan and written by Turgut Özakman, “Cumhuriyet” (1998) stars Rutkay Aziz and Savaş Dinçel and explores the early years of the newly formed Turkish Republic.

Azerbaijanis marked the occasion with a conference called, ‘Historical Overview of Türkiye-Azerbaijan Brotherhood Relations in its 100th Anniversary’.



Main image, top, of the Solotürk aerobatic team from the Turkish Air Force performing a demonstration flight over Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara, on 29 October 2023 to mark the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, known as Republic Day, took place on 29 October 2023. Photo © NECATI SAVAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (14172603aa)