Joint ceremony honors Turkey’s modern founder

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

On Nov. 10, U.S. service members stood alongside their NATO allies during an annual memorial service to pay tribute to the father of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.


The ceremony, held at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, marked the 80th anniversary of Ataturk’s death and began by laying wreaths as a show of respect. Sirens then played at exactly 9:05 a.m. to memorialize the moment of his passing. The ceremony concluded with service members rendering honors to a monument of Ataturk.


“Ataturk Memorial Day commemorates the life and passing of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was the first President of Turkey, and a pivotal leader in world history. It was an honor for us to stand in solidarity with our NATO allies at an event that means so much,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler, 39th Air Base Wing vice commander. “We value the opportunity to take part in our host nation’s culture. Events like this help us enhance our teamwork and build on our partnership; we are truly stronger together.”


Ataturk, the founder and first president of modern day Turkey, served a 15-year presidency where he implemented the separation of church and state, established schools in every village and established equality between men and women.


“We love and respect Ataturk because he transferred Turkey and the Turks from Middle Ages to contemporary ages,” said Mehmet Birbiri, 39th Air Base Wing host nation advisor. “We miss him more and more every year.”