Turkey marked the anniversary of the decisive battle in the War of Independence on Sunday.
Victory Day, which commemorates the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922 against Greek forces, saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, senior officials and high-ranking military staff lay a wreath at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on a hill overlooking Ankara.
“We are still fighting to maintain Anatolia as our eternal homeland,” Erdogan told the crowds. “No internal or external power threatening our existence will be able to cast a shadow over our independence and future.”
The 93rd anniversary of the battle that heralded the end of Turkey’s struggle for independence came as the country faced a renewed escalation of fighting between security forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Due to the surge in the PKK’s attacks, the prime minister’s office issued a circular Friday, asking for the cancellation of “festivals, concerts and entertainment events”.
Patriotic Turks across the country decked their balconies with red and white Turkish flags. In capital Ankara, cars packed with flag-waving families headed for a military parade and a low-flying acrobatic display by the Turkish Air Force’s Turkish Stars display team.
In Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Vatan Street as well as in other cities across the country formal ceremonies were held.