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Turkey marks Republic founder Ataturk’s death anniversary

Turkey marks Republic founder Ataturk’s death anniversary

Thousands of visitors on Wednesday paid their respects to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at his mausoleum in the Turkish capital.

The day marked the 83rd anniversary of the passing of Turkey’s founding father.

People witnessed the change of guard ceremony at Anitkabir, and waited in queues to visit the museum at the premises.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kudret Yilmaz, one of the visitors, said that he frequently visits Ataturk’s final resting place.

Underlining that Turkey owes many things to Ataturk, Yilmaz said: “So glad we have him, fortunately, he founded the Republic of Turkey. It is my duty and the duty of the next generation to keep our Republic alive.”

Another visitor, Arda Atesci also said that he was very happy to be at Anitkabir.

Atesci, who is handicapped and getting treatment at a hospital, added: “We got permission from the hospital with difficulty. I spoke to hospital officials so they gave me the permission to visit Anitkabir.”

Rukiye Binbasaran, who took time off from her work just to visit Anitkabir, told Anadolu Agency that today is a day of mourning for the Turkish nation.

Fatma Efe, 80, who came to Ankara from the central Eskisehir province, felt joyful at her first ever visit to Anitkabir.

She said Ataturk liberated Turkey from the enemy forces.

Many visitors laid flowers at the mausoleum and prayed.

As is customary, daily life stopped at 9.05 a.m. local time (0605GMT), sirens wailed to mark the exact moment of Ataturk’s death at the age of 57, and millions of people across the country observed two minutes of silence.

The battle for Turkish independence started on May 15, 1919, when the first bullet against the occupying Greek forces was fired. Incredible achievements on the battlefield led to Turkish independence, and the Republic of Turkey was founded on Oct. 29, 1923.

Ataturk became the first president of the Republic until Nov. 10, 1938, when he passed away in Istanbul.