Republic Day in Turkey is October 29th, and it’s a big day of celebration commemorating the official creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Republic Day is a Turkish national holiday, so all banks, government buildings and some businesses and schools will be shut. The Turkish flags will be raised, and there will be parades, concerts and celebrations across the country.
ABOUT REPUBLIC DAY IN TURKEY
Republic Day in Turkey (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) marks the official end of allied occupation in 1923. It is also the day that Mustafa Kemal was unanimously voted the first President of the Republic of Turkey.
HISTORY OF REPUBLIC DAY IN TURKEY
Following World War 1, almost all of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey was under Allied rule. Frustrated by the government’s inability to fight the occupation, many chose to join the growing resistance movement, which led to the War of Independence (1919 – 1923). Mustafa Kemal was the leader of the troops. He was the man that led them to victory and freed the country from the occupation in July 1923. The modern borders of Turkey were then internationally recognised by the Treaty of Lausanne, and the Republic of Turkey was then officially announced on October 29th 1923.
The formation of this new republic led to the Turkey we know today. Mustafa Kemal had been the driving force behind the uprisings, and he was well respected and the obvious choice as President. In the years after his election, he introduced many significant political, economic and cultural reforms to the country that led to him being given the name “Atatürk”, meaning “Father of the Turk’s”, in 1934. This name stuck, and it is how he is often referred to today. His strength and foresight formed modern Turkey, and his legacy is hard to miss with statues, streets, buildings and schools all named or dedicated to his life and achievements. Each business in Turkey and many homes display a picture of Atatürk behind their receptions, in the sitting room, or at the main entrance.
WHAT HAPPENS ON REPUBLIC DAY IN TURKEY?
Republic Day in Turkey is longer than a day; it lasts for 35 hours starting on the afternoon of October 28th. It is a public holiday, so banks, government buildings and many shops and offices will be shut. Schools usually put on performances, special documentaries and films are shown on TV, and there will be parades, music, dance and speeches in town squares around the country. It is a good idea to get any official paperwork done before October 28th or organise any banking before Republic Day celebrations. It’s also an idea to draw cash out of ATM’s the day before as many may run out of money as locals enjoy their break from work.
If you would like to join in on the celebrations, consult local press, Belediye (council) websites or local Facebook groups to find out what is happening locally. Most years there are some wonderful shows held to commemorate the occasion – a holiday Mustafa Kemal Atatürk himself declared “the most important of celebrations”. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic this year, the large celebrations and public gatherings typically held on Republic Day in Turkey are going to be limited. However, you will still notice the flags flying and music playing in celebration of this important event.
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