President Gul and his spouse host republic day reception


Turkey celebrated its Republic Day to commemorate the founding of the secular state by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The 89th anniversary of the Republic Day marked symbolic firsts, with First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul joining her husband President Abdullah Gul in saluting the military parade for the first time since Gul took office in 2007. Before official celebrations began, a ceremony took place at Ataturk's mausoleum (Anitkabir) in Ankara. President Gul signed the Anıtkabir Special Register. "Great Ataturk, we are celebrating the 89th anniversary of the republic you founded with great enthusiasm. We stand before you with the pride of a country that is improving its democracy, human rights and freedoms, its economy and maintaining reforms… We, as a nation, bow before you with respect on this Republic Day and thank you. May you rest in peace," he wrote. High-level state officials, military commanders and representatives of a number of political parties, including Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, also attended to the ceremony. Following the ceremony, Gul received congratulatory messages at Cankaya palace. It was a historic first since this has traditionally taken place in Parliament. First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul also attended the official celebrations as a member of the official delegation for the first time. President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sat in grandstands, watching police, schoolchildren and helmeted soldiers in tanks and armored personnel carriers filing past on parade. Ankara Governor's office banned a rally in the capital, citing security reasons. Despite the ban, thousands gathered in the capital to celebrate the Republic Day in front of the First Assembly where a police intervention took place. Official celebrations went ahead as planned in Ankara while the rally saw some tense moments between protestors and police. The celebrations took place all around Turkey led by the main opposition party and some other non-governmental organizations. Thousands of people waving national flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founding father of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, gathered at Istiklal Street and marched to Taksim Square, to celebrate the country's Republic Day in Istanbul. A ceremony was also held in western city of Izmir. Members of parliament, senior government officials, political party representatives, civil society organizations participated in a large number of citizens celebrating the Republic Day.