By Aminata S Kuyateh
The Turkish Embassy in Banjul on Friday marked the 100th anniversary of its Victory Day.
The centennial of the Republic of Türkiye, or Cumhuriyet, sent a wave of celebration across the globe. The day serves as a collective sense of pride that is palpable, with people from all walks of life pausing to honor a milestone that marks a century of resilience, transformation, and unity.
When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Türkiye’s founding father, proclaimed the Republic’s establishment on October 29, 1923, setting in motion a profound shift in the nation’s trajectory. Rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of the Republic of Türkiye heralded a new era of independence, self-determination, and modernity. It was a testament to the indomitable will of a nation determined to craft its destiny.
The Turkish Ambassador to Banjul, Tolga Bermek, said the celebration is a moment of reflection on the unyielding spirit of a nation that has weathered trials and tribulations, standing tall and resolute.
“Today, the Republic represents more than just a political establishment; it’s a symbol of equality, freedom, and the rule of law, a beacon of democracy, and the embodiment of a centuries-long cultural heritage,” he said at the celebration attended by ministers, NAMs, and diplomats.
Ambassador Bermek said his country has continued to build strong bilateral relations with The Gambia and other countries around the world.
He said Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s visit to Banjul in 2020 is a testament to the strong bilateral ties the two countries continue to enjoy.
“Every year, a large number of Gambian students travel to Türkiye to further their education at various universities under a scholarship or by other means.
“There are more than 300 Gambian students studying in Turkish universities,” he said.
He said the two countries also work closely in multilateral affairs, adding that the forthcoming OIC summit to be hosted in Banjul will serve as a significant milestone for The Gambia.
“Having organised a series of regional and global summits during the past decade, Türkiye has shared its experience with The Gambia through several training programs, particularly in the areas of security, protocol, and media,” Ambassador Bermek disclosed.
Addressing the celebration, Sering Modou Njie, the minister of defense, said The Gambia and Türkiye’s relationship dates back several decades.
He said the two countries have signed several MoUs and cooperation agreements to facilitate and maintain frequent exchanges of high-level visits and deepen collaborations in key areas of economic development, security, education, health, capacity building, and diplomacy, among others.
Minister Njie disclosed that 7,500 Gambian military personnel have benefited from Turkish training opportunities between 1991 and 2005.
He said the Gambia Armed Forces also received advanced military training in general peacekeeping and other military operations from Türkiye.