A European Parliament member and the founding chair of the EU-Turkey Friendship Group congratulated Turkey on its 97th Republic Day with a special video message in Turkish language.

“Dear friends of EU-Turkey. Happy 29 Oct. Republic Day of Turkey, approaching its centenary,” said Polish lawmaker Ryszard Czarnecki. “It made the Turkish people equal citizens, Turkish women voters.”

The EU-Turkey Friendship Group was formed this June to improve bilateral relations, and engage in cultural activities and diplomacy.

Czarnecki has also served as vice president of the European Parliament.

The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk took place on Oct. 29, 1923.

The Turkish Grand National Assembly also voted unanimously to elect the founding father as the republic’s first president.

Since then, Turkey celebrates the day on Oct. 29 every year. The republic is due to celebrate its centenary in 2023.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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