TURKISH REPUBLIC DAY SPEECH
Dear Members of The Turkish American Community and Dear Friends,
I like to welcome you to the 80th Anniversary Celebration of the Turkish Republic. As all of you know, the Turkish Republic was founded on October 29, 1923, by the leadership of our first President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Eighty years passed since then. During these eighty years, the world has witnessed several wars. Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, numerous wars in the Middle East, to name a few. We have also witnessed the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of new nations and republics in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
But the word " Republic" was not always used as it was intended. Often, even the tinniest dictatorships used the word "Republic", to disguise their form of government. On the other hand, Ataturk and The Grand National Assembly used the word "Turkish Republic" in its true sense. "Turkiye Cumhuriyeti" or" Turkish Republic. " Cumhur " meaning: "The People". "Cumhuriyet": meaning " The Government by The People".
Government by the People, for the People. Doesn't this remind us of something?
Today two years after the tragic events of September 11, the World is still looking for some answers in rebuilding relations between, East and West, Muslim and Christian and Jewish faiths. People in our communities and elsewhere are trying to learn more about other people, other religions, other countries with the hope of peaceful coexistence and a better world for our children and the next generations to come. People all over the world are looking for some answers, searching for models. They are talking about tolerance and understanding the "Other Side".
Well, they don't need to look any further. The Turkish Republic with its eighty-year history shines a role model for an all nations looking for these answers. Yes, The Turkish Republic, with it's secular state and pre-dominantly Moslem population, serves as a bridge between East and West, religious tolerance between all faiths, ethnic diversity, yet one national unity.
We the Turkish-Americans are proud of our heritage and our eighty-year young Republic. As Ataturk once said and it immediately became the motto of Turkish Republic: PEACE AT HOME AND PEACE IN THE WORLD.
PS: This speech was delivered by Cem Ozmeral, President of TAACO during the Republic Day Celebrations at the Fawcett center of The Ohio State University