Kemaliye, previously Eğin, is a city within the jap Anatolian area of Erzincan, the one Turkish metropolis named after the founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the daddy of the nation, which holds particular significance on the one hundredth anniversary of the nation.
Standing on the foot of the cliff overlooking Kemaliye, the golden statue of Atatürk evokes the wonderful previous of this small city.
Nestled between the mountains and the sources of the Euphrates, Atatürk rewarded the loyalty of the city by giving it his title forward of making the Republic of Türkiye out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire 100 years in the past.
“The entire nation would have needed to bear his title, however he would by no means have accepted!” mentioned retired hotelier Hacı Ömer Yalçınkayalar, referring to the modest nature of Atatürk, who might be celebrated on the nation’s anniversary on Oct. 29.
Gen. Mustafa Kemal, the hero of the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) marketing campaign towards the Allies, in 1919 started the Warfare of Independence confronting the invading Westerners who occupied the dismembered empire to search out the unbiased nation he longed for.
His forces discovered themselves nearing catastrophe on the gates of Ankara in 1921 when he obtained a telegram from Eğin, a buying and selling city on the crossroads of Anatolia and the Caucasus.
The telegram learn: “Expensive Pasha, we have now 500 horsemen prepared to go away at your command,” recounted Yalçınkayalar. Located on the caravan routes heading towards Baghdad, Iran and Georgia, the city was affluent. That is evidenced by the persisting stone and picket homes that have been constructed alongside the steep slopes of the mountainside, which city authorities requested to be categorised as a UNESCO World Heritage Website.
All the district had round 20,000 inhabitants, together with some 6,000 in Kemaliye itself, in Atatürk’s time, in contrast with 1,500 residents immediately. “In the long run, they did not should do it,” Yalçınkayalar mentioned of the provide to ship horsemen.
However Atatürk didn’t neglect the gesture and, a 12 months later, he wrote to the Eğin municipal council to supply his title.
“It was given to us as a present,” mentioned the 73-year-old who has devoted his retirement to his city’s historical past. “It honors us: with the republic, we joined the civilized world.”
On the foot of the statue, an indication reads: “To thank the district for the help it gave for nationwide independence, its title is modified from Eğin to Kemaliye.”
Kemaliye has been residence to many celebrations together with concert events, soccer tournaments and banquets each Oct. 29 because the beginning of the republic in 1923.
In Güzide Tüfekçi’s household, the story is handed down with enthusiasm: The 60-year-old former literature professor recalled what Turkish ladies owe to Atatürk and the republic. “He opened the way in which for enlightened Turkish ladies, intellectuals, to have entry to training, to have a career. We’re pleased with him,” she mentioned.
Dealing with a small practice station that has served Kemaliye since 1938, a modest cafe is embellished like a museum. Erdal Ertürk, 59, has hung portraits of Atatürk on all of the partitions – in black and white colour, in a soldier’s uniform, in a tuxedo or carrying his Karakul (Astrakhan) hat and hung an enormous pink flag bearing his picture above the doorway.
After vigorously cleansing the mud off one of many frames, which he kissed earlier than hanging, Ertürk spoke of “the very particular love of the city for Atatürk.”
“He’s our protector. He based our nation, our republic. All these portraits that you just see right here, are simply speaking about them, it strikes me,” he mentioned.
But, the city itself refrains from displaying its historical past as its streets are barely embellished and only some home windows reveal the portrait of the celebrated man.
Şevket Gültekin, 62, a taxi driver and singer, holds the important thing to a small museum that’s the most embellished.
Vacationers who go to the area primarily come to admire the “Darkish Canyon,” one of many 5 deepest on the planet, in keeping with UNESCO. It’s typically solely upon arriving in Kemaliye that they uncover its previous.
“When our information taught us, it made us completely satisfied,” mentioned Haluk Mutluay, 58, from the coastal metropolis of Mersin, in southern Türkiye.
“Atatürk means loads to us, he is our father.”