Turkey’s Centenary Celebrations Marks Country’s Safety and Competence

Published: 31 October 2023

By Shofi Ahmed


Turkey commemorates the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye, President Erdogan and other leaders are highlighting the nation’s unwavering confidence in its safety and competence. However, beneath this celebration lies a fascinating intersection of historical narratives. President Erdogan’s fondness for Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic past, alongside his selective appreciation for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s republican-era leadership, reveals a complex relationship within the country’s historical narrative. In this column, we will explore Turkey’s struggle to reconcile its nationalist, secular foundations with its rich Islamic heritage, as these complexities shape the nation’s trajectory for the future.

Turkey’s Centenary Celebration:

Turkey’s 100 Year Republic Anniversary marks a significant milestone in the nation’s history, celebrating the establishment of the democratic republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This event is traditionally observed with grandeur and pride, highlighting the achievements and progress made over the past century.


The Tragic Situation in Gaza:

However, the recent ground attack in Gaza, resulting in the devastating loss of civilian lives, has cast a shadow over Turkey’s celebrations. The heart-wrenching images and stories from the conflict have left a profound impact on the nation and its people, causing a collective sense of sympathy and grief.


Celebrating Safety and Competence:

The centenary celebrations serve as an opportune moment for President Erdogan and other leaders to emphasise the nation’s safety and competence. It demonstrates Turkey’s progress and stability over the past century, reflecting its resilience and determination in overcoming various challenges. This celebration underlines the government’s commitment to steering the country towards continued growth and success.


A Complex Relationship: Ottoman and Islamic Heritage vs. Republican-Era Leadership:

President Erdogan’s affinity for Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic past, along with his selective praise for Ataturk’s republican-era leadership, reflects the intricate dynamics at play within Turkey’s historical narrative. The coexistence of these seemingly divergent perspectives indicates an ongoing struggle within Turkish society to reconcile its nationalist, secular foundations with its deeply rooted Islamic heritage.


The Ottoman Empire symbolises Turkey’s past as a regional power, boasting vast cultural and historical accomplishments. Erdogan’s fondness for this period is evident in his focus on reviving aspects of the Ottoman legacy. However, his selective appreciation of Ataturk’s republican-era leadership suggests a nuanced approach to historical interpretation, acknowledging Ataturk’s contributions while prioritising different aspects of Turkey’s history.


Navigating Complexities:

Turkey’s efforts to reconcile its complex historical narrative shape its trajectory for the future. It requires understanding the delicate balance between celebrating the nation’s Islamic heritage and upholding the principles of the republic. President Erdogan’s leadership plays a significant role in shaping this delicate equilibrium, as his approach echoes the ongoing struggle to find common ground between these historical narratives.


Moreover, Turkey’s ability to navigate these complexities affects its regional relationships and global diplomatic endeavours. It calls for a nuanced approach to forge alliances and build bridges with countries across the political spectrum, respecting their diverse histories and cultures.


The fondness for Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic past, coupled with the selective appreciation of Ataturk’s republican-era leadership, underscores Turkey’s ongoing struggle to balance its nationalist, secular foundations with its vibrant Islamic heritage.


Understanding and navigating these complexities is vital for Turkey’s future trajectory. It requires fostering dialogue, embracing diversity, and finding common ground to move forward as a unified nation. By acknowledging and reconciling its historical narratives, Turkey can shape its path, both domestically and in the global arena, to realise its vision of a prosperous and harmonious future. Last but not least the celebration well painted Turkey’s progress and stability over the past century, portraying resilience in overcoming challenges and highlighting a determined approach to continued growth.