UPDATES WITH REMARKS OF TURKISH VICE PRESIDENT; EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Selma Kasap and Enes Kaplan
ANKARA (AA) – The historic opening of Istanbul’s new airport is a mark of Turkey’s power, determination, and 95 years of achievements, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, as the country celebrated its 95th Republic Day.
Erdogan, along with senior government and military officials and opposition leaders, laid a wreath at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in the capital Ankara.
“Today, we are celebrating the 95th anniversary of our republic by opening the new airport in Istanbul, one of the world’s most prestigious projects,” Erdogan wrote in the Anitkabir memorial guestbook.
Also marking the auspicious occasion, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said the new airport would serve as a gift for the anniversary.
On Twitter, Oktay said, "We are presenting a new airport in Istanbul to our republic on its 95th anniversary. We are working hard to bring new works to our country under the leadership of our president."
The opening ceremony of phase one of one of the world’s largest airports began at 4.30 p.m. local time (1330GMT) with the attendance of Erdogan and leaders from around the world.
The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk took place on Oct. 29, 1923, when the name of the nation and its status as a republic were declared.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly (parliament) then voted unanimously to make Ataturk, a revolutionary statesman, the first president of the Republic of Turkey.
Since then, Turkey has celebrated Republic Day every year on Oct. 29.