Ceremonies were held around the country to pay tribute to martyrs and military veterans who fought for the unity of the country. Statesmen, politicians, governors and mayors as well as veterans and families of martyred soldiers attended the ceremonies. Leaders of various political parties issued statements to commemorate martyrs and military veterans as well. Family members of slain soldiers and police officers were awarded medals of commendation during the ceremonies. The ceremonies began with the singing of the national anthem and speeches by governors, who extended heartfelt thanks to martyrs and veterans for the efforts they exerted for the unity of the Turkish nation.
"If a person gives his life for his country, it means that country is important. Our martyrs and veterans demonstrated this courage. A nation that does not show respect to its martyrs and veterans has no future," Kayseri Governor Mevlüt Bilici said.
Elazığ Governor Muammer Muşmal said being a martyr or veteran is a source of honor in Turkish culture. “Every single Turkish citizen is ready to become a martyr or a veteran to protect his nation, flag and its sacred values. For the Turkish nation, martyrs are blessed and veterans are honored,” he noted. A veteran whose name was not released was rushed to a hospital in a military vehicle after he fainted as he was waiting for the start of the ceremony in Antalya. Doctors said the veteran was in good condition and had fainted due to low blood pressure.
Meanwhile, Sebahattin Erol, a veteran who fought in Turkey’s 1974 intervention in Cyprus, was found dead at his house yesterday. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival.
İmdat Gündüzhev, a veteran who participated in the Korean War, spoke during a ceremony in Ardahan and recommended that Turkish youth be vigilant against threats emanating from other countries.
“Youths should be careful about any threat. Their parents should protect them against bad habits such as drug addiction. There are ill-intentioned people who want to entrap our youth. We should be vigilant against these people. We will stand up for the unity of our country and forever protect the republic Atatürk founded,” he said.