Republic Day – Turkey

October 29

If the earth were a single state, Constantinople would be its capital.

–Napoleon Bonaparte

In the 17th century, the Ottoman Empire stretched from Transylvania to Ethiopia, from Algiers to the Caspian Sea.

By the end of the 19th century, France had chipped away at much of North Africa, the Ottoman Empire’s ‘ally’ Britain had assumed protective control of Egypt, Balkin republics were declaring their independence in Europe, while Arab groups to the East were fighting for the same. In addition, the Empire was crippled by a mountain of debt to European creditors brought on by the Crimean War and the numerous wars that followed.

During World War I, the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers (Austro-Hungary) against the Allied Powers (Britain, France, and Russia). The Empire met with initial successes, but weakened during the War’s progress, partially by internal conflicts such as the Great Arab Revolt and independence movements encouraged by the Allies.

A young military commander by the name of Ataturk, who rose to fame at the Battle of Gallipoli, was enraged at the Allied partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the occupation of Constantinople. Between 1919 and 1923 he led the resistance in the Turkish War of Independence, fought mainly against Greece, France, and Armenia.

In 1923, after 8 months of negotiations, representatives of the warring states signed the Treaty of Lausanne. The treaty negated Ottoman claims in Iraq, Syria, and Cyprus, and acknowledged the Republic of Turkey as the successor to the Ottoman Empire. The Republic was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became its first president.

Ataturk and the Republic of Turkey

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