88 years after landmark victory, Turkey stands proud
August 30 Victory Day, marking the 88th anniversary of Turkish forces' victory in the Battle of Dumlupinar, the final conflict of the 1922 Turkish War of Independence, was celebrated with joyful ceremonies across Turkey yesterday. Ceremonies in Ankara honoring the occasion began with a visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, by Chief of General Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner and a delegation. Also attending the ceremony were Land Forces Commander Gen. Erdal Ceylanoglu, Naval Forces Commander Gen. Esref Ugur Yigit, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay, Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Necdet Ozel, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Aslan Guner, and other members of the armed forces. Kosaner, in his first official ceremony as the nation's top officer, laid a wreath of red and white carnations at Ataturk's tomb, followed by a minute of silence and the singing of the national anthem. "Great Ataturk, today we observe the 88th anniversary of the great victory you won by gathering the whole nation around the idea of independence," Kosaner wrote in Anitkabir's memorial guestbook. "This victory paved the way for us to embrace the republic, and guaranteed Turkey taking its place among modern civilizations." Later, a parade at Ankara's Ataturk Culture Center was also attended by top political and military officials. The Turkish Armed Forces parachute team also performed as part of the Victory Day ceremonies, incorporating Turkish flags and images of Ataturk in their routine. President Abdullah Gul and Gen. Kosaner gave the soldiers a standing ovation. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was unable to attend the ceremony, as he was in northern Rize, visiting victims of last week's destructive landslides. Politicians and statesmen last evening also attended a reception at General Staff headquarters in Ankara, including President Gul, Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic. Istanbulites marked Victory Day in Taksim Square with the attendance of members of the armed forces, the governor, the mayor and the city's chief of police as well as other top officials.