By Roy Lie Atjam
His Excellency Ambassador Selçuk Ünal organized a reception on the 100th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye on Thursday, 26 October 2023.
Hundreds of well-wishers responded to the invitation and came by to felicitate Ambassador Selçuk Ünal.
Turkey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of the modern, secular republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a World War I hero who went on to lead a war of independence against occupying forces, Ataturk proclaimed the Turkish Republic on October 29, 1923. He embarked on a series of reforms aimed at turning the nation into a secular democracy. He abolished the caliphate, replaced the Arabic script with the Latin alphabet and gave women the right to vote.
Ambassador Selçuk Ünal welcome remarks follow. “ It is an honour to welcome you to the centennial anniversary celebration of the Republic of Türkiye. Thank you for being with us. In 1919, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades-in–arms, all the brave men and women, heroes and fighters have started an independence war which ended with establishment of the Republic in 1923 and made it possible for us today to celebrate 100th anniversary of our independence.
We have come a long way in 100 years. And Türkiye is now entering its second century with a vision, its hard-working people, vibrant economy, contributions to the rule based world order as a responsible member of the international community.
This year we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Foreign Ministry. Diplomatic relations between the Dutch Republic and the Ottoman Empire had started also almost 500 years ago. First Dutch envoy was sent in 1612. Two centuries later, in 1813, there was another envoy, Ambassador Tesla, of whom we have the honour to host his descendants tonight.
Türkiye has always attached special importance to its relations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was not a coincidence that following the establishment of the Republic in 1923, one of the first friendship treaties was concluded with the Netherlands in 1924.
Our nations founded the Council of Europe, became staunch NATO Allies, worked together in the UN peace keeping missions and other organisations such as the OSCE, the OECD and the OPCW.
Our countries share the same determination to overcome issues in the world. We have several bilateral dialogue mechanisms. One of them, the Turkish-Dutch Wittenburg Conferences have started herein this place in 2008.
We share a bilateral trade volume exceeding 10 billion Euros. In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), the Netherlands is the biggest investor in Türkiye. Likewise, Turkish investments in the Netherlands are also at the top in terms of worldwide Turkish FDI. We hosted 1.2 million Dutch friends last year. Dutch-Turkish community of almost half a million has become a great contributor here in the last 60 years.
While concluding, I would like to thank for the solidarity that the Netherlands has extended to us in the earthquakes this year. My family and I have arrived to the Hague 5 days before the devastating earthquakes of 6 February. Our Dutch Allies deployed the Urban Search and Rescue Team, the Military Airborne Medevac Unit and numerous NGOs immediately. Those brave men and women are with us tonight. I thank our Dutch friends once more. Like the Turkish aid to the Dutch during the floods in 1916, 1953 and 2021, the assistance of the Dutch government, people and the Turkish-Dutch community will not be forgotten.
I also would like to thank to the team of the Turkish Residence who prepared samples of Turkish cuisine as well as our kind sponsors such as the Turkish Airlines, Bereket Baklava and Elka Food. Once again, Dames en heren, welkom! Welkom en bedankt dat je bij ons bent! Dank u wel.”
Next on the program was the reading of a message by the President of the Republic of Turkiye, H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the occasion of “29 October Republic Day”
The government had opted for a low-key celebration of the centennial, which comes months after a devastating earthquake. However, many in held their own private celebrations. Municipalities organized concerts and parades. Pop star Tarkan and classical pianist Fazil Say are among artists that have composed marches to mark the centennial.
The 100th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye was celebrated nationwide in a joyous spirit.