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Turkish president marks Ataturk's death anniversary

The Turkish president on Saturday commemorated the 81st death anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the nation.

In a commemorative message marking the day, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "We should understand the teachings of Gazi (Veteran) who gained the appreciation of our nation and the whole world, and tell our youth and children that he is a true patriot.

"We must carry the torch forward for the unity and solidarity of the future generations without forgetting the sacrifices and struggles made in this way."

Ataturk achieved great success in the War of Independence securing a respectable place in the history of the world, said the statement issued by the communication wing of the President's Office.

“Our nation is forever determined to protect this homeland and flag which is defended by the blood of our martyrs and the sacrifices of our veterans. The Republic of Turkey continues to grow with the strength it gets from the past despite all attempts to prevent this,” said Erdogan.

“As we walk into the future with greater hope and determination than ever before, we continue protecting our Republic which Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk calls 'my greatest work', and we carry on tirelessly the steps that will take our country further,” he added.

Ataturk was born in 1881 in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, in what was then the Ottoman Empire. He made his mark in the military in 1915 when he led his forces to repel the allied invasion in Canakkale, known in the West as the Dardanelles.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Ataturk led the Turkish War of Independence which defeated European powers. When he became president, Ataturk transformed the former empire into a modern and secular country.

He passed away in Istanbul on Nov. 10, 1938 at the age of 57.

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