Each year on August 30th the Turkish Republic celebrates an important national holiday: Zafer Bayramı – Victory Day.
The holiday is dedicated to the Turkish Armed Forces.
What Happens On Victory Day?
If you’re in the country for Zafer Bayramı, don’t be surprised to see an abundance of Turkish flags flying from people’s balconies as you walk around the streets.
Especially in the bigger cities.
Flags with the image of Atatürk will also be prominent – and with good reason!
Zafer Bayramı National Ceremonies
As it’s the capital of the country, the main Turkish Victory Day celebrations take place in the city of Ankara where the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Anıtkabir features prominently.
Wreaths are laid at the mausoleum and a national parade through the city takes place.
Victory Day in Turkey is also known as Turkish Armed Forces Day and this is the day where military promotions are announced.
It’s also when graduation ceremonies take place in military schools.
Zafer Bayramı In Fethiye
Here in Fethiye, part of the Zafer Bayramı commemorations often feature paramotor displays with, of course, those same flags flying.
So, if you’re in town, as well as looking up at the balconies, make sure you also look up into the sky.
This is especially the case in the resort of Ölüdeniz where some of the local paragliders usually like to display their support for the day in some way, too.
In Fethiye centre, Victory Day commemorations will take place in front of the statue of Atatürk.
Sometimes, there will also be a live concert in the evening featuring a famous Turkish singer or band.
Live concerts take place around the country to honour all those in the Armed Forces.
What Does Zafer Bayramı Commemorate?
Most Turkish public holidays are centred around the founding of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (later to become Atatürk) in 1923.
Zafer Bayramı – Victory Day – is no different.
While many war-weary countries celebrated the end of the First World War in 1918, that wasn’t the case for Anatolia.
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire resulted in a power vacuum and saw the Allies carving up Anatolian lands and occupying them.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha – who had already proved himself as a successful leader of troops during the Great War and was now a high ranking general – once more gathered and rallied troops to reclaim the lands.
The war became known as the Turkish War of Independence and was fought from May 1919 to July 1923 (there’s a whole rabbit hole of information about this subject on Wikipedia).
Zafer Bayramı – Victory Day – marks the decisive victory at the Battle of Dumlupınar on 30th August 1922.
This was the western front of the Turkish War of Independence, known as the Greco-Turkish War.
Throughout the campaigns, Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his movement had created a counter-government in Ankara.
And, if you follow Turkish history, you’ll know that the following year, on 29th October, 1923, the Turkish Republic was declared.
The national holiday, Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day) is celebrated on this day every year.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha was its leader. In 1934, Turkish parliament gave him the name Atatürk (Father of the Turks).
Zafer Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun – Happy Victory Day!