Relatives of those killed in July 15 coup plot join Turkey's leaders in marking 94th anniversary of Independence War battle.
ANKARA (AA) – Relatives of those martyred during Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt have joined political, judicial and military figures in marking the 94th anniversary of a decisive victory in the country’s 1919-1923 War of Independence.
It is the first time civilians have participated alongside the country’s leadership in remembering the 1922 Battle of Dumlupinar against Greek forces.
Turkish leaders on Tuesday attended the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in the capital Ankara.
Among those paying their respects were President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman and the Chief of Turkey’s General Staff Hulusi Akar.
Leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli also attended.
Deputy prime ministers and prominent judicial figures were also at the Victory Day ceremony, which commemorates the victory which took place in Turkey’s Aegean region on August 30, 1922.
After laying a wreath, Erdogan wrote in the Anitkabir memorial book: "Today, we commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Victory Day with great excitement and pride.
“We are trying hard to preserve for all time the Turkish Republic with which you entrusted us despite all poverty and difficulties faced during the War of Independence.
"Our beloved people, like 94 years before, left all their differences aside and became our main source of confidence."
The Victory Day celebrations took place across Turkey.
In Ankara, Turkish military organized a parade under heavy security measures.
The parade started at 1.30 p.m. local time (1030 GMT) from the current Turkish Parliament building and ended at the old parliament building in around half an hour.
War veterans, including those who got injured during July’s coup attempt also attended the ceremony.
Turkish soldiers carried a huge Turkish flag as well as a giant Atatürk poster.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who attended the “August 30 Victory Day Big March” in Ankara, told the crowd: “We have established the republic together and we will keep it alive together.”
The anniversary, which heralded the end of Turkey’s struggle for independence, comes as the country takes part in Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which aims to improve security, support anti-Daesh coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s southern border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets.