Turkey commemorates founder of republic on 80th anniversary of death

Turkey on Saturday commemorated the 80th anniversary of the death of the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with ceremonies and vigils held nationwide, NTV news channel reported.

Each year on Nov.10 at 9:05 a.m. - the date and time of death of the first Turkish president - life in the country comes to a halt while sirens are sounded for two minutes of silence and flags held at half-mast across the country.

The country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flanked by top officials and army officers including Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the leaders of opposition parties, attended the commemoration ceremony at the Atatürk mausoleum known as Anıtkabir.

"Despite malicious attacks at home and abroad, we are walking on the path with a determination to make Republic of Turkey one of the strongest and prosperous countries in the world. Rest in peace," the Turkish president said on following the ceremony in an apparent reference to an attack in the southeastern province of Hakkari which killed seven soldiers and injured more than 20.

Hundreds of thousands of people visited the mausoleum on Saturday to pay their respects to Atatürk, who died at the age of 57 in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul due to health problems, leaving red and white carnations on Atatürk's bed.

A lineup of 10 kilometers formed leading into the entrance of Anıtkabir, NTV news reported.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar released a statement on the occasion, praising the founder of modern Turkey and his comrades for securing Turkey's freedom.