Turkey celebrates Republic Day


As high-level state officials and high-ranking military commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) attended a reception held by President Abdullah Gul at Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara together with their spouses, Turkey experienced a first at yesterday’s Republic Day celebrations. Gul received congratulations at the Cankaya Palace for the first time since taking office. President Gul also held a reception at the presidential palace in the evening. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the reception with his wife, Emine Erdogan, for the first time. Prime Minister Erdogan commented on events which took place during the celebrations earlier yesterday. "There is no such thing that we didn't allow the rally. Mr. Kilicdaroglu celebrated last Republic Days beside me, in the official celebrations. Why isn't this happening now? Why did he try to celebrate it in his own way this time while it was being celebrated in 8 different locations in Ankara? This is not an alternative celebration, this is a provocation." he said. Erdogan has also criticized police and media. "I didn't give an order to remove the barriers. Police didn't do its job. 11 police officers were wounded and media who reported pepper gas and pressurized water has not reported this." he said. Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel and other top military commanders all attended to the reception. It was reported that invitations were sent to Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ozel and the commanders of the land, air and sea forces. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) did not attend to the reception but instead chose to take part in another event held in Istanbul in order to celebrate Republic Day. On the other hand, National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli attended the reception. The reception also saw for the first time military commanders present at an official event along with pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials. The way of celebrating Republic Day and other national days changed after a directive was adopted by the government in May. According to the new directive, only one reception for Republic Day is to be held at the Cankaya presidential palace. Celebrations held outside of Ankara will be organized by governors' offices in the various provinces.