Turkey: government cancels national celebrations

The Turkish government has cancelled several events marking Victory Day citing the coronavirus pandemic. Critics accuse Erdoğan of wanting to keep these republican celebrations low key whereas the recent reopening of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque was allowed to be celebrated on a large scale. Victory Day commemorates the Battle of Dumlupınar in August 1922.

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Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Time to give up one-sided historiography

Yeni Şafak sees a chance for a more comprehensive view of the country's history, including that of the Ottoman Empire and Islam:

“The historical narrative, which so far revolved only around Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] and focused on the Battle of Sakarya as the birth of a completely new form of Turkishness, has changed. That narrative, which was secular and nationalist and based purely on the era of the Republic, has now teamed up with Islam. This is also due to a change in historical - and national - awareness. This process of change has left behind the perspective that focused solely on the last century while excluding the Ottoman and Islamic history and instead adopted an attitude of reconciliation towards them.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Don't slight Republican victories

Even pro-government columnist Nagehan Alçı emphasises in Habertürk that cancelling the official ceremonies only polarises society:

“I'm in favour of celebrating Victory Day on August 30 with great enthusiasm. The AKP must be just as sensitive to the Battle of Dumlupınar in 1922 as it is to the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 [in which the Turkish Seljuks defeated the Byzantine army]. ... Failing to do that unnecessarily divides society. Both Manzikert and Dumlupinar are the work of this nation. We must finally overcome our peculiar habit of quarreling about history.”