Cape Town - The centenary celebrations commemorating the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye were held in Cape Town on Sunday.
The private residence of Turkish Consul-General Sinan Yesildag was adorned with Turkish flags and an enlarged image of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first president of Türkiye.
Those in attendance included representatives from the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, and a number of community organisations, some of which included the Turkish South African Youth Association (Turksay), AGFA South Africa, Gift of the Givers and the Ottoman Cricket Club, among others, as well as other key persons.
The programme commenced with the Turkish and South African national anthems, followed by speeches from distinguished guests.
Vice-consul Tayfun Dogan read a message from the president of the Republic of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The journey of our nation from the past to the future continued on to this day from the Seljuks to the Ottomans, and from the Ottomans to the Republic of Türkiye.
“The Republic of Türkiye has accumulated all of our state tradition of 2200 years, as symbolised by the 16 stars in the Presidential Seal.
“With the inspiration we draw from our deep-rooted history and ancestral values, we endeavour to prepare our Republic for its new century, by further strengthening it.”
Ye ilda said: “The year 2023 marks the centenary of the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye, following the War of Independence won by the sacrifice and determination of the Turkish people under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
“The Turkish nation fought hard for her freedom and today we proudly celebrate the significant political, democratic, economic and social strides we were able to achieve since the foundation of the Republic.”
Concluding his remarks, Yesildag said it was important to mention all the children, women and Palestinians killed while living in what is widely considered the largest open air prison in the world.
“You already know, but let me emphasise that since October 7 more than 3000 children have been killed in Gaza.”
Provincial Parliament deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer said: “I had the privilege of spending more than 10 years in Istanbul. I lived there as a citizen and worked there for many, many years.
“And I have watched how Türkiye has grown into its maturity of 100 years despite the trials and tribulations that it has experienced in its history, some catastrophic, some horrific, but the history is there.
“And I think what’s so important is that Türkiye doesn't shy away from its history, it acknowledges the history both good and bad, both dark and light.”
AWQAF SA deputy CEO Mikaeel Collier received a special acknowledgement and gift for the support he has shown since the establishment of the Turkish consulate-general in Cape Town.
Following the speeches, attendees were entertained by the Cape Town Seven Steps Minstrels.