By Ilker Girit, Satuk Bugra Kutlugun and Kubra Chohan
Crowds gathered at the house of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s birth on Friday as people across Turkey and the world marked the anniversary of his death.
At the three-storey building in Apostolou Pavlou Street, Thessaloniki, the Turkish consul general addressed around 1,000 Turkish students who had gathered to pay their respects.
“We remember him today in every corner of the world, all over the world,” Orhan Yalman Okan said. “But, in this house where he was born, it is quite different and remarkable.”
When Ataturk was born in 1881, Thessaloniki was part of the Ottoman Empire before being taken by Greece in 1912. The house is now a museum to modern Turkey’s founder and around 5,000 are expected to visit on Friday.
“Ataturk was such a wonderful and perfect person that even the people who had waged a war [against Turkey] were saddened over his death,” Okan said, referring to Greek newspaper reports on his death in 1938.
Ataturk led the Turkish forces during the War of Independence, driving Greek troops out of the country.
Okan noted that Eleftherios Venizelos, who served as Greek prime minister at the start of the war, nominated Ataturk for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934.
Turkish diplomatic missions across the world held commemoration ceremonies.
In Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, the embassy organized readings of poems about Ataturk.
At the embassy in
Basak Turkoglu, Turkey’s envoy to Kuala Lumpur, said: “I believe that the best way to commemorate Ataturk is to understand him. We need to cherish our republic.”
The ambassador to Azerbaijan, Erkan Ozoral, described Ataturk as “the strongest icon to unite Turkish people.”
In Paris, Ambassador Ismail Hakki Musa said Ataturk was symbolized through freedom and love of liberty.
In Hungarian capital Budapest, Ambassador Sakir Fakili led a crowd in a moment of silence at the city’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Park.