Turkey’s Republic Day

Turkish voters turn to the past days before choosing their future, celebrating Republic Day

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Bosphorus Bridge that links the city's European and Asian sides, with the European side in the background, lights up with a fireworks display during the Republic Day celebrations in Istanbul.

This Thursday, Turkey celebrated the 92nd anniversary of the declaration of the Republic.

Where I come from, national holidays like these are normally a good opportunity to relax with friends and family. Organize a barbecue by the pool.

But in Turkey, people dress up with the colors of the flag and go visit the tomb of the leader they “feel so much gratitude” towards.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey, is buried in a mausoleum at the summit of a hill in Ankara.

Every year, on October 29, a real pilgrimage is held.

For many, Ataturk defines the Turkish spirit. His legacy still looms large in today’s Turkey.

Ataturk’s mausoleum crowded with visitors

This Thursday, thousands of people came to Ataturk’s mausoleum to lay flowers and say prayers.

Some travelled from far with their entire families.

The old and the young - Turkey’s past and future - united to honor this nation’s founding values.

Man visits Ataturk’s mausoleum in Ankara

A man told us he is well aware of the challenges Turkey faces today as well as the importance of Sunday’s elections.

But he said ‘Republic Day’ was a moment to celebrate Turkey.

With two days to go until the vote on November 1st, parties held special rallies on Republic Day.

While the AK Party chose the eastern city of Diyarbakir to display the strength of Turkey’s rulers, the conservative opposition CHP had its leader try to charm potential young voters in Ankara.

In a country where half of the population is under 30, young and first-time voters are enjoying special attention from political parties.

Turkey’s nationalist MHP says its youth movement is the largest in Turkey and that the future of the party is guaranteed.

We met a few of the so-called ‘Grey Wolves’ in Istanbul to understand what attracts young voters to the far-right.


Anelise Borges