Centenary of the Republic of Turkey and the Legacy of Ataturk

Flags decorate the streets of Turkey, along with giant portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who on November 24, 1934, received from the Turkish parliament the surname - "Father of the Turks".

"Turkey and Bulgaria should be friends. Whoever is against Bulgaria is also against Turkey," said the creator and leader of the modern Turkish state decades ago.

The celebrations culminate today - the day 100 years ago Ataturk officially proclaimed the Republic following the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the War of Independence led by the late leader.

The 100th anniversary of the republic will be celebrated in a manner befitting the "Century of Turkey" - the doctrine of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As part of the celebration, Turkey's achievements in various fields over the past 100 years, from the defense industry to culture, will be told through various digital exhibitions and 3D displays.

A visual show featuring drones and fireworks will be held in Istanbul, and the country's 100-year journey will be echoed at historical sites with a special light show.

In addition, a special exhibition titled "From the Past to the Future: The Turkish Century" will be presented in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center (ACC) in Istanbul's Taksim Square.

In the Bosphorus, 100 turkish warships will stage a military parade.

The victory in the war and the birth of the Republic of Turkey

The War of Independence led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923.

The Ottoman Empire officially disintegrated after World War I. At a time when the empire began to weaken and was known as the "Sick Man of Europe", the Ottomans sided with the Central Powers, of which Bulgaria is also a part, in the years 1914-1918. The Empire faced military defeat, occupation and disintegration in the final months of the bloody conflict on an unprecedented scale. It was divided by the Sèvres Peace Treaty (1920). The dismemberment of the Ottoman territories between the Allied Powers was outlined. This leads to widespread opposition among Turkish nationalists who reject the harsh post-war conditions.

In 1920, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established in Ankara under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - who proved to be an extremely capable army officer. This assembly declared itself to be the legitimate government of Turkey and rejected the authority of the Sultan. Thus began the Turkish national movement aimed at opposing the foreign occupation. The Turkish War of Independence followed from 1919-1922. Atatürk, a military officer and national hero, led a battle against the occupying Allied forces, including Greek, British, and French Entente troops, as well as the Ottoman authorities in Istanbul, who collaborated with the foreign forces.

A turning point in the war came during the Battle of Sakarya in 1921, when Turkish forces under the command of Mustafa Kemal successfully repulsed the Greek advance. This event marked a turning point in the war. This battle and the ongoing conflict led to diplomatic negotiations that eventually culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. It replaced the Treaty of Sèvres and recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Turkey, delineating the country's new borders and securing international recognition of its independence. The Republic marked the end of the Ottoman Sultanate, Istanbul was no longer the imperial capital, and as part of the reforms, the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed VI, was deposed as early as 1922.

A worthy place in the world

October 29 marks Republic Day, when Parliament reformed the constitution to change the system of government.

"Gentlemen, tomorrow we will proclaim the Republic!", Atatürk told his inner circle one day before the proclamation on October 29, 1923. Parliament later proceeded to vote on the amendment, and after chants of "Long live the Republic," it was approved. Mustafa Kemal was elected president of the Republic of Turkey unanimously by 158 deputies. Republic Day has been celebrated since 1925.

Building on the legacy of a semi-parliamentary system in the last years of the Ottoman Empire, the new republic introduced wider democratic reforms to the country and Atatürk was hailed as a great statesman, credited with rebuilding a devastated country with new ideals, secular governance and modernization.

In his first address to the parliament after thunderous applause, President Atatürk thanked the deputies and welcomed the amendment to declare the republic, saying: "With its efforts, the Republic of Turkey will prove that it is worthy of the place it occupies among the world's nations. We will always move forward together with the love and trust of the nation. The Republic of Turkey will be happy, successful and victorious," Atatürk told parliament 100 years ago.

Ataturk and Bulgaria

Atatürk was a visionary political and military leader and a man of character whom Turks admire to this day and aspire to emulate. He is known for being on the front lines of battles, for loving animals, and for adopting children, including Sabiha Gökçen, who was the first female fighter pilot in Turkey and the world and became a symbol of female empowerment in the young Turkish republic.

The founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is also closely related to Bulgaria. He served as military attache in Sofia from October 27, 1913 to February 2, 1915. Atatürk also entered the Bitola Military School in 1896, a three-year average military school that operated until 1913.

The great love of the elegant Turk with French manners and the Bulgarian Dimitrina - Dimitrina Kovacheva, the second daughter of General Stiliyan Kovachev, former Minister of War, is well known. A love that turns out to be impossible because of the wars, the political situation and the Bulgarian general's disapproval of giving his daughter's hand to Kemal.

In the decades after the end of the First World War, Bulgaria and Turkey actively developed their bilateral relations.

A little-known historical fact is that on June 10, 1924, negotiations for the signing of an agreement between Turkey and Bulgaria began in Ankara. The Bulgarian side was represented by Ambassador Simeon Radev, and Turkey by the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tevfik Kyamil Bey and the legal advisor of the Prime Minister Munir Bey. On October 18, 1925, the treaty called "Friendship Treaty between Bulgaria and Turkey" was signed.

On December 1-6, 1931, a delegation led by Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikola Mushanov visited Turkey. Mustafa Kemal stated at one of the meetings: "Turkey and Bulgaria must be friends. Whoever is against Bulgaria is also against Turkey". In the evening of the same day, Prime Minister Ismet Inyonu delivered a speech at the dinner in honor of the Bulgarian delegation and said that relations between the two countries were at a high level.

In addition to being a successful military leader, Atatürk implemented a series of far-reaching reforms with the vision of modernizing Turkey. These include political, legal, cultural and societal changes aimed at transforming Turkey into a secular and Western-oriented nation. From the removal of the ferjetas and the establishment of secular government, to the conversion of the church of St. Sofia in a museum, Atatürk gave the beginning and direction of the new state and remained a symbol for countless generations. /BGNES