Today, 29 October, is the 97th anniversary of Turkish Republic’s birth. Republic Day is a public holiday in Turkey commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, on 29 October 1923.
29 October 1923
This day on 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk declared that Turkey was henceforth a republic. Turkey had de facto been a republic since 23 April 1920, the date of the establishment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, but the official confirmation of this fact came three-and-a-half years later. On 29 October 1923, the status of the nation as a republic was declared and its official name was proclaimed to be Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (“the Republic of Turkey”). Then, Atatürk was elected as the first President of the Republic of Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Kemal Atatürk was a Turkish field marshal, revolutionary statesman, author, and the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. It has been the first president from 1923 until his death in 1938. He undertook sweeping progressive reforms, which modernized Turkey into a secular, industrial nation.
Ideologically a secularist and nationalist, his policies and theories became known as Kemalism. Atatürk is regarded as one of the most important political leaders of the 20th century.
Atatürk came to prominence for his role in securing the Ottoman Turkish victory at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915) during World War I. Following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish National Movement. Establishing a provisional government in the present-day Turkish capital Ankara, he led what was later referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. He subsequently proceeded to abolish the decrepit Ottoman Empire and proclaimed the foundation of the Turkish Republic in its place.
As the president of the newly formed Turkish Republic, Atatürk initiated a rigorous program of political, economic, and cultural reforms with the ultimate aim of building a modern, progressive and secular nation-state.
He made primary education free and compulsory, opening thousands of new schools all over the country. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Turkish women received equal civil and political rights during Atatürk’s presidency.
In 1981, the centennial of Atatürk’s birth, his memory was honoured by the United Nations and UNESCO, which declared it The Atatürk Year in the World and adopted the Resolution on the Atatürk Centennial, describing him as “the leader of the first struggle given against colonialism and imperialism“. Atatürk is commemorated by many memorials and places named in his honor in Turkey and throughout the world.