Republic Day, or Cumhuriyet Bayramı, commemorates the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October, 1923 and is one of the most important official public holidays and national festivals in Turkey.

History of Turkish Republic Day

On October 29, 1923, the newly recognized Turkish parliament proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, formally marking the end of the Ottoman Empire. On the same day, Mustafa Kemal, who led the Turkish National War of Liberation and was later named Atatürk (father of Turks), was unanimously elected as the first president of the Republic. 

“Gentlemen! We shall declare the republic tomorrow” is what modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said on the night of October 28, 1923 as he addressed lawmakers and his close brothers-in-arms. One day later, the Turkish Parliament adopted the new regime type and elected Atatürk as the first president, as lawmakers were heard shouting, “Long live the Republic! Long live Mustafa Kemal Pasha!”

Turkey had effectively been a republic from April 23, 1920 when the Grand National Assembly was inaugurated in Ankara. When the Turkish parliament held its first session in 1920, virtually every corner of the crumbling Ottoman Empire was under the occupation of Allied powers. Exasperated by the Ottoman government’s inability to fight the occupation, the nationwide resistance movement gained momentum. With the Allied occupation of Istanbul, and the dissolution of the Ottoman Parliament, Mustafa Kemal’s justification for opening the resistance movement’s new legislative body was created.

Following the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk embarked on a wide-ranging set of reforms in the political, economic and cultural aspects of Turkish society. These reforms have left a lasting legacy of which the peoples of Turkish heritage are proud: the conversion of the newly founded Republic into today’s modern, democratic and secular Turkish state.

You can read more about the creator of modern Turkey in this article.

How is Turkish Republic Day Celebrated?

The holiday lasts 35 hours, starting at 1:00 pm on October 28th.

Many people go to local stadiums on October 29 to watch performances dedicated to Republic Day. Such performances usually consist of theater sketches, poetry readings and traditional Turkish dances. Many school children participate in school performances for parents and teachers. Parades may take place in some cities and politicians may give public speeches on this day.

People lay wreaths at the many statues of Atatürk across the country or visit Atatürk’s mausoleum in the country’s capital, Ankara.

In the evening of October 29, many cities have traditional processions with flags and musical bands to commemorate Republic Day in Turkey. The processions usually end with fireworks, which begin after dark.

The common symbols of Republic Day in Turkey are the Turkish flag and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Republic Day is an official national holiday in Turkey. Public administration buildings, schools, post offices and many small businesses are usually closed on this day. Public transport schedules may vary. Public transport routes may change in the event of street performances and processions. The afternoon of the previous day, October 28, is also an official holiday.

The Republic is due to celebrate its centenary in 2023. What a celebration that will be!

29 Ekim Cumhuriyet Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun

Sources: Wikipedia/TCA/Office Holidays