By Safvan Allahverdi
A public commemoration ceremony for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was held here Friday at the Turkish Embassy.
Embassy staff, representatives from the Turkish Armed Forces and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus observed a minute of silence before a wreath was placed at the Ataturk Memorial in the embassy’s garden.
Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic, who is accompanying Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on an official visit to New York, did not attend but speeches by the embassy and military highlighted Ataturk, life and career.
The revered leader was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki, at the time a part of the Ottoman Empire.
His distinguished military career included repelling the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 and rallying Turks to withstand the Allies’ attempt to carve up Turkey during the War of Independence after World War I.
As its first president, Ataturk transformed Turkey through a wide-ranging series of political, cultural, religious and economic reforms.
He did away with the Sultanate and Caliphate, enabled Turkey to adopt a European-centric approach by allowing a secular legal code, constitutional provisions, new Turkish alphabet and more.