As we mark the 97th Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, we commemorate the resolute leader of the Turkish independence movement and its first President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and praise his generative vision and determination that gave place to Turkey’s advancement as a model of an independent, sovereign, democratic and secular state, providing basis for individual and societal progress, while embracing the Turkish nation’s cultural heritage.

The Republic Day symbolizes the monumental achievements of our forefathers in giving the Turkish nation the foundation upon which to build and it is a day of celebration as well as one of introspection.

On this important day, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) invites you to reflect upon Atatürk’s legacy and achievements, remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can exist and live freely.

Atatürk’s Speech on the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic

The Turkish Nation!

We are in the fifteenth year of the start of our war of liberation. This is the greatest day marking the tenth year of our Republic. May it be celebrated.

At this moment as a member of the great Turkish nation, I feel the deepest joy and excitement for having achieved this happy day.

My citizens,

We have accomplished many and great tasks in a short time. The greatest of these is the Turkish Republic, the basis of which is the Turkish heroism and the great Turkish culture. We owe this success to the cooperative progress of the Turkish nation and its valuable army.

However we can never consider what we have achieved to be sufficient, because we must, and are determined to accomplish even more and greater tasks. We shall raise our country to the level of the most prosperous and civilized nations of the world. We shall endow our nation with the broadest means and sources of welfare. We shall raise our national culture above the contemporary level of civilization.

Therefore, we should judge the measure of time not according to the lax mentality of past centuries, but in terms of the concepts of speed and movement of our century. Compared to the past, we shall work harder. We shall perform greater tasks in a shorter time. I have no doubt that we shall succeed in this, because the Turkish nation is of excellent character. The Turkish nation is intelligent, because the Turkish nation is capable of overcoming difficulties of national unity, and because it holds the torch of positive sciences.

I must make it clear with due emphasis, that a historical quality of the Turkish nation, which is an exalted human community, is its love for fine arts and progress in them. This is why our national ideal is to constantly foster and promote, with all means and measures, our nation’s excellent character, its tireless industriousness, intelligence, devotion to science, love for fine arts and sense of national unity. This ideal, which very well suits the Turkish nation, will enable it to succeed in performing the civilized task falling on it in securing true peace for all mankind.

The Great Turkish Nation!

You have heard me speak on many occasions over the last fifteen years promising success in the tasks we undertook. I am happy that none of my promises have been false ones which could have shaken my nation’s confidence in me.

Today, I repeat with the same faith and determination that it will soon be acknowledged once again by the entire civilized world that the Turkish nation, who has been progressing towards the national ideal in exact unison, is a great nation. Never have doubted that the great, but forgotten, civilized characteristic and the great civilized talents of the Turkish nation, will, in its progress henceforth, rise like a new sun from the high horizon of civilization for the future.

The Turkish nation,

I express my heartfelt wish that you will celebrate, after each decade elapsing into eternity, this great national day, in greater honor, happiness, peace and prosperity.

‘How Happy Is the One Who Says, I Am a Turk!’

M. Kemal Atatürk, October 29, 1933