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Erdogan opts for a low-key celebration of Turkey’s one centesimal anniversary as a secular republic

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is marking the one centesimal anniversary of the creation of the trendy, secular republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire on Sunday, however anticipate no grand pageantry or gala reception to memorialize the essential milestone.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities has opted for a low-key celebration of the centennial, which comes months after a devastating earthquake that killed 50,000 folks and coincides with the Israeli-Hamas struggle that has roiled the Center East.

The subdued affair, nevertheless, has induced dismay amongst many in Turkey who really feel that the legacy of the republic’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is beneath assault by Erdogan’s authorities. They see the shortage of pomp and fanfare an as try by the federal government, which finds its roots in Turkey’s Islamic motion, to erase Ataturk’s reminiscence.

Erdogan will observe the normal protocol of laying a wreath at Ataturk’s mausoleum within the capital and shake palms with a procession of ambassadors and high-level officers at his palace. He’ll then journey to Istanbul to observe a procession of army ships on the Bosporus adopted by a drones and fireworks present. In his speech marking the event, Erdogan is predicted to spotlight his authorities’s achievements previously 20 years.

Earlier this yr, Erdogan invited a slew of overseas leaders to have a good time his reelection for a 3rd time period as president in Could however received’t be internet hosting a reception to mark the republic’s main milestone. State broadcaster TRT introduced it was canceling particular centennial applications because of the struggle in Gaza.

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Many in Turkey will likely be holding their very own personal celebrations or events in eating places or properties. Municipalities run by opposition events are organizing concert events and parades. Pop star Tarkan, classical pianist Fazil Say are amongst artists which have composed marches to mark the centennial.

“There are those that nonetheless have an issue with our republic 100 years later,” mentioned the chief of the center-right opposition Iyi Get together, Meral Aksener, accusing the federal government of not lacking the chance to make sure the “one centesimal yr (celebration) falls flat.” She and others imagine a mass pro-Palestinian rally attended by Erdogan on Saturday was particularly organized to overshadow the centennial celebration.

However Ahmet Hakan, columnist for the pro-government Hurriyet newspaper, says the scaled-back celebration grew to become “inevitable” on account of Israel’s actions in Gaza, which have triggered a wave of protests significantly in Muslim-majority nations, in response to Hamas’ assault on Israel on Oct. 7.

A World Conflict I hero who went on to guide a struggle of independence in opposition to occupying forces, Ataturk proclaimed the Turkish Republic on Oct. 29, 1923. He launched into a collection of radical reforms aimed toward turning the bulk Muslim nation right into a secular, Western-style democracy. He abolished the caliphate, changed the Arabic script with the Latin alphabet and gave girls the appropriate to vote.

Ataturk remains to be held in excessive regard within the nation the place his portraits grasp on partitions of colleges, workplaces and houses. Site visitors involves a standstill as 1000’s observe a minute of silence on the anniversary of his dying. His signature is tattooed on arms.

However not all sections of society had been on board with Ataturk’s reforms. Erdogan and his non secular assist base take pleasure in Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic previous. Erdogan pays homage to Ataturk’s army achievements as an officer of the Ottoman Empire, however hardly ever praises his republican period.

The Turkish chief speaks of ushering a brand new period he has dubbed “The Century of Turkey,” with a brand new structure that might uphold conservative household values and would don’t have any room for what he has known as “deviant” LGBTQ+ rights.

“Erdogan desires to see Turkey develop into (a rustic) that embraces Erdogan’s values, that’s socially conservative, not essentially a part of the West and in addition, I’d say, has a major function for Islam from schooling to public coverage,” mentioned Soner Cagaptay, an skilled on Turkey on the Washington Institute and writer of books on Erdogan.

Critics say the Turkish chief has already moved Turkey additional away from Ataturk’s imaginative and prescient.

Official features as we speak typically start with prayers. The Directorate of Non secular Affairs has been given a big price range that dwarfs most different ministries. The variety of non secular faculties have elevated in keeping with Erdogan’s acknowledged objective of making a “pious technology.”

In 2020, Erdogan transformed the previous Byzantine-era church Hagia Sophia — which was became a mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul — again right into a functioning mosque. Ataturk had remodeled the construction right into a museum in a nod to its Christian and Muslim legacy.

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