Official ceremonies commemorating Ataturk's death began with President Abdullah Gul laying a wreath at Anıtkabir, the Turkish leader's mausoleum in Ankara. Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroğlu and many other political figures attended the ceremony which was marked by heavy rain. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not attend the ceremony since he is currently on an official foreign trip.
There was also a ceremony held at Dolmabahçe Palace, where Ataturk died at 9:05 a.m. on Nov. 10, 1938.
Ataturk was born in 1881 in Thessalonica, in present-day Greece. While his wartime record in the Balkan Wars, World War I and the War of Independence is outstanding, he is chiefly remembered for founding the Turkish Republic and the modernizing reforms that he instituted.
Ataturk died at Dolmabahçe Palace, in İstanbul on Nov. 10, 1938, finally succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver. His body was first taken to a temporary resting place at the Ethnography Museum in Ankara on Nov. 21, 1938. When his mausoleum was completed, he was interred with a grand ceremony on Nov. 10, 1953.
During his presidency, Ataturk embarked upon a program of political, economic and cultural reform. An admirer of the Enlightenment, he sought to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, democratic and secular nation-state. The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.
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