October 29th – The Day of the Republic

The Republic Monument, Taksim Square (Istanbul) © Lisa Lehnen

On October 29 Turkey celebrates the Republic Day. This day marks the foundation of the Turkish Republic after the countries victory in the War of Independence (1919-23). Today 89 years ago the old constitution of the Ottoman Empire was replaced by a new one and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first president of Turkey. He proclaimed the day the most important national holiday.

For Istanbul this means that the city is even more crowded with people than usual. There are performances consisting of music, readings, theater and traditional Turkish dances, processions in the streets where people are waving flags and show the face of Atatürk, but also demonstrations and protests. Not forgetting the huge fireworks in the evening. I do not even want to imagine what will be going on next year when they have an even bigger jubilee to celebrate…

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