Sinem In The House
Finally coming to the end of my series, 99 in the Shade, which ends on a patriotic note (may also help those who have posted comments on the blog addressed to Suby over the past week; remember: Sin is Turkish, Suby is Nigerian!)
Today is the Republic Day which will be celebrated in Turkey for the eighty third time - the celebration of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. This important day, celebrated every year all around the country as a national day of celebration, marks the end of a very long battle towards independence which began on 19 May 1919 with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's journey to Anatolia in a bid to start a nationalist movement to revoke the terms of theTreaty of Sevres signed by the Ottoman Sultan at the end of World War I which effectively marked the end of the Ottoman Empire after years of decline which reduced the seven hundred year old empire to a 'sick man' in the eyes of the world and the empire's vast territory was divided between the English, Greek, Italian and French forces.
Ataturk mobilised every available component of the Turkish society in what would become the Turkish War of Independence. The War of Independence ended in September 1922 with the defeat of the Greek forces on the Western front and the withdrawal of the last remaining British forces from Istanbul. The end of the empire and the birth of a new nation was recognised worldwide by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 which recognised the sovereignty of the newly formed Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the defunct Ottoman Empire.
With the proclamation of the new Turkish state as a republic on 29 October 1923, the Turkish nation was granted the right to exercise popular sovereignty by representative democracy. The Republic of Turkey moved on to establish strong, long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with many nations of the Eastern and Western world, including those that were fought in the War of Independence.
Hence, when a Turkish person talks about their flag with pride and honour, it is not a sign of patriarchal patriotism but the mere gratitude to those ancestors who fought on all fronts to rescue and redeem a nation which had fallen victim to the misguided decisions and weakening rule of an ancient monarch that had left her glorious golden age long behind, the pride we feel that if the ordinary people of a nation, peasants on the fields, women with their suckling babies, children with their weapons stolen from the ammunition occupying forces, have the will to overcome atrocities in to fulfil their dreams of freedom and liberty, nothing can stand in their way.
War of Independence is the story of courage, honour and determination. The Turkish flag the very symbol of that struggle.
Words and photography by Sinem
For more information on Ataturk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Kemal_Pasha
For more information on the Turkish flag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Turkey
"Ars longa, vita brevis."
ps: I do apologise for the long history lesson. :)
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