Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the new state, proclaimed this day as Turkey’s most important holiday. On this day many festivities, including performances and parades, take place. Many people also choose this day to pay their respect to Atatürk and leave flowers at his mausoleum in Ankara. There are flags put up everywhere and as well as fireworks.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – November 10, 1938) was a field marshal, statesman, author and the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. Appointed by the parliament, he served as the first president of Turkey from 1923 until his death in 1938.
He facilitated immense progressive reforms, called ‘Ataturk’s Revolutions’ modernizing Turkey into a secular and industrialized nation. He is known as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century with his attention to education and women’s rights. He made primary education free and mandatory, opening thousands of schools across the country. He granted women equal civil and political rights, becoming one of the first countries in the world to do so. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Atatürk was recognized as a centennial world leader by UNESCO in 1981, and there were celebrations throughout that year.
The Turkish-Canadian Society (TCS) was founded in 1963 and since then has been striving towards increasing public knowledge and appreciation of Turkish arts, culture, history, and traditions.
We have been contributing to the vibrant multi-cultural character of British Columbia, specifically, by organizing and participating in festivals, exhibitions, concerts and musical or dance events. Our annual celebration events, the Republic Day and Turkish-Canadian Friendship Night, as well as the Turkish Sovereignty and Children’s Day have always been community favorites. Our TOPLUM magazine has attracted a large audience. Additionally, The Vancouver Turkish Film Festival (VTFF) has been a great success since its inauguration in 2011. The Turkish Choir (established 2003) has participated in many musical events and multicultural festivals around Vancouver and performed annual concerts, regularly. As a community, we are grateful to be a part of the BC Arts and Culture fabric.