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Turkey commemorates 77th anniversary of Ataturk’s demise

77th anniversary of Ataturk's demiseThousands of people on Tuesday flocked to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara to commemorate the founding father of Republic of Turkey who passed away 77 years ago.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Ismet Yilmaz and other senior political figures also attended the commemoration ceremony at the mausoleum, known as Anitkabir.

Among those who attended the commemoration ceremony were Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

According to Anadolu Agency, Erdogan signed the official Anitkabir memorial book at the Misak-ı Milli (National Pact) Tower and wrote: “We are continuing to work tirelessly towards the goal you set of ‘reaching the and going beyond the level of contemporary civilization’. Despite internal and external enemies, we will have fulfilled your will by reaching the targets we have set for 2023, which is the centenary of our Republic.”

Prime Minister Davutoglu said on his Twitter account: “I commemorate the great statesman and the founder of our Republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, with respect and gratitude on [the anniversary] of the day we bid him farewell.”

The commemoration ceremonies are taking place across the country, but the center of attraction is the grand mausoleum complex that also houses a museum.

Daily life stopped for two minutes, beginning at 9.05 a.m., local time [07:05GMT] the time of Ataturk’s death. Sirens wailed throughout Turkey, and people observed two minutes of silence.

Flags were flown at half-mast to commemorate the father of the Turks, Ataturk.

Ataturk was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki in what was then the Ottoman Empire. He made his mark in the military in 1915 when he led forces to repel the allied invasion in Canakkale, known in the West as the Dardanelles.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, Ataturk led the Turkish War of Independence, which defeated European powers. When he became president, Ataturk transformed the former empire into a modern and secular country.

Ataturk passed away on November 10, 1938, at the age of 57.

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