Republic Day Turkey

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On Republic Day in Turkey, everywhere is alive with flags!

Republic Day Turkey, or Cumhuriyet Bayramı as it’s known in Turkish, commemorates the offical start of a new Turkey. On this day in October 1923 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially proclaimed the establishment of the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Republic of Turkey). The Turkish Grand National Assembly, the parliament, had been in operation since it was established on 23 April 1920. However it wasn’t until 1923 that parliament amended the Constitution to change the system of governance to a republic. It occurred at the end of Turkey’s four year War of Independence and marked the official end of the Ottoman Empire. One of the first official parliamentary acts of 1923 was to hold a vote to choose the first ever president for the new republic. The position went to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was instrumental in putting into place many laws still in existence today.

Ataturk entering grand national assembly 1936.

Republic Day lasts for 35 hours, beginning at 1pm on October 28, but the major ceremonies are held on the 29th. You’ll see enormous Turkish flags hung from skyscrapers, from highway overpasses and along tree-lined neighbourhood streets.

Anitkabir in Ankara, courtesy of Halbag, on Flickr.

Wreath laying ceremonies take place in village squares, town halls and city centres across the country. I’ve spent countless Republic Days watching parades of council vehicles, fire engines and police cars, followed by smartly dressed school children proudly marching in time. Like my Turkish neighbours and friends I’ve enjoyed poetry recitals, musical performances and passionate historical re-enactments put on by enthusiastic primary school kids whose teachers have worked tirelessly to help them learn their lines. The most significant one takes place at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Top officials, dignitaries and commanders visit Atatürk’s resting place in Ankara to lay wreaths in memory of his role in founding the republic.

Republic Day Turkey has been celebrated since 1925. It’s one of many national public holidays in Turkey. Learn about the rest of them in my guide to public holidays in Turkey.


If you’re in the process of planning your trip to Turkey here are my helpful tips:

For FLIGHTS I like to use Kiwi.com.

Don’t pay extra for an E-VISA. Here’s my post on everything to know before you take off.

However E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use Booking.com.

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

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