70 years after his passing, Ataturk commemorated with longing and gratitude across Turkey
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was commemorated yesterday nationwide on the 70th anniversary of his death. Ceremonies to honor Ataturk and his legacy began in the morning with an official ceremony at Anitkabir, Ataturk's mausoleum. High-level state and government officials, members of the judiciary, top army commanders and political party representatives led by President Abdullah Gul all came to the mausoleum to lay a wreath at Ataturk's tomb and observe two minutes of silence in commemoration of the great leader. Signing Anitkabir's Memorial Guestbook, Gul wrote, "Great Ataturk, we commemorate you with respect on the 70th anniversary of your death. We are in your presence with the honor of being a powerful country which inspires confidence and promotes balance in its region. Turkey has earned the respect of the whole world with its position, power, dynamism, international influence, and contributions to world peace and stability. We are determined to keep up with world developments, continue our democratization, and leave a stronger and more prosperous country to future generations. We present you our gratitude and love. May your soul rest in peace." Many other events and ceremonies were held across the country, including the official ceremony at Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace where Ataturk passed away on November 10, 1938. Daily life and traffic stopped throughout the country at 9:05 a.m., the exact moment of Ataturk's death, as car horns and sirens were sounded and people observed two minutes of silence out of respect for Ataturk. Flags across the country were flown at half-mast. Thousands of people surged into Ataturk's mausoleum to show their gratitude and commitment to Ataturk and his legacy.