Turkish President Gul to host first time Victory Day reception
since he was elected to the post on Aug. 28, 2007. In an amendment to the regulation governing national and official feasts, ceremonies and celebrations passed in May 2012, responsibility for hosting the Victory Day reception was transferred from the Chief of General Staff to the president. Despite the change, last year's reception in was cancelled due to Gul's recurring ear problem. Remarkably, Mehmet Haberal, a deputy of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and a suspect in the ongoing Ergenekon coup case who was recently released, is also among the invitees of the reception. Haberal was one the most high-profile civilian suspects of the Ergenekon case, who was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison. However he was released on Aug. 5 for time served. The Ergenekon coup plot trial reached an end on Aug. 5, after the Istanbul 13th Court for Serious Crimes handed down severe punishments, including a life sentence for former Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug. The verdict is not final as the process at the Supreme Court of Appeals has yet to be finalized. Celebrations will commence with Gul placing a garland at the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, after which he will accept greetings at the presidential residence in Cankaya and a parade will take place at the Ataturk Cultural Center. Victory Day marks the final battle in the War of Independence in 1922 ahead of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.