Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

THE COUN­TRY will grind to a halt once again at 9:05 a.m. on Satur­day to pay its re­spects to Mustafa Ke­mal Atatürk, Turkey’s founder, In­de­pen­dence War leader and the first pres­i­dent, on the 80th an­niver­sary of his death

PEO­PLE across Turkey on Satur­day will mark the 80th an­niver­sary of the death of Mustafa Ke­mal Atatürk, Turkey’s founder, first pres­i­dent and the leader of the In­de­pen­dence War. Atatürk died at 9:05 a.m. on Nov. 10, 1938, with the na­tion grind­ing to a stand­still for sirens that have sounded at ex­actly the same time ev­ery year since.

A high-pro­file cer­e­mony will be held at Anıtk­abir, the mau­soleum of Atatürk in the heart of the Turkish cap­i­tal of Ankara. Sirens of po­lice ve­hi­cles, am­bu­lances, ships and fire trucks will wail, while peo­ple walk­ing on the streets stop and ob­serve the one minute of si­lence. In Is­tan­bul, mo­torists have been known to get out of their cars and ob­serve the si­lence to honor Atatürk’s mem­ory, even on busy high­ways dur­ing rush hour. Flags across the coun­try are flown at half-mast.

Atatürk was born in 1881 in Thes­sa­loniki, which is now in Greece, in what was then the Ot­toman Em­pire. He made his mark in the mil­i­tary in 1915 dur­ing World War I for his part in re­pelling the al­lied in­va­sion in Çanakkale, known in the West as the Dar­danelles Cam­paign.

Fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Ot­toman Em­pire af­ter the war, Atatürk led the Turkish War of In­de­pen­dence, which de­feated Greece and the Eu­ro­pean pow­ers that oc­cu­pied part of Ana­to­lia. When he be­came pres­i­dent, Atatürk trans­formed the for­mer em­pire into a mod­ern and sec­u­lar coun­try.

Atatürk passed away on Nov. 10, 1938 at the age of 57. In Is­tan­bul, Dolmabahçe, an Ot­toman palace where Atatürk spent his last days, will also be at the cen­ter of the com­mem­o­ra­tion events. The room where the revered leader passed away will be opened to vis­i­tors, as is the tra­di­tion af­ter a re­mem­brance cer­e­mony. Vis­i­tors, who formed long lines to see the room, left car­na­tions in the colors of the Turkish flag on Atatürk’s bed.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, who re­leased a state­ment yes­ter­day for the oc­ca­sion, com­mended Atatürk’s lead­er­ship for unit­ing the na­tion dur­ing and af­ter the In­de­pen­dence War. He called for chil­dren and young peo­ple to be taught about his de­ter­mi­na­tion and the prin­ci­ples upon which the re­pub­lic was founded. Er­doğan also said the gov­ern­ment was res­o­lute in its ef­forts to achieve the ob­jec­tives of Vision 2023, which aim at trans­form­ing Turkey into one of the world’s top 10 economies.

De­fense Min­is­ter Hu­lusi Akar also re­leased a state­ment, prais­ing Atatürk and his com­rades in arms who se­cured Turkey’s free­dom.

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