The state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Friday that separate regulations on the official celebration of Victory Day have been combined into one regulation. According to the new protocol, President Abdullah Gül will host a single reception and greet guests at Çankaya. In this way, separate receptions that used to be hosted by top commanders at orduevis (military clubs or dining facilities for members of the military) will no longer be held.
The new protocol follows last year’s Victory Day celebrations, in which the president, not the chief of General Staff, greeted guests as the commander-in-chief of the military. Victory Day is an official holiday in Turkey that marks the victory in the final battle of the Turkish War of Independence in 1922. Gül greeting well-wishers has been another step in Turkey’s ongoing efforts to decrease the influence of the military over politics and civilian affairs and further signals the end of the military’s influence over civilian authority.
The General Staff announced that the new protocol was adopted since the former practice in which the General Staff greeted guests was not appropriate. The statement further said Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel conveyed to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Gül that it would be more appropriate for the president to receive greetings on behalf of the Turkish nation during national holidays and as the commander-in-chief on Victory Day.