November 10, 2018, marked the 80th anniversary of the death of Turkey’s beloved Atatürk. Bilkent University commemorated the solemn occasion over the course of two days with several events.
On Friday, November 9, a ceremony took place at Mithat Çoruh Auditorium. It began with a moment of silence and the national anthem, followed by a mini-concert performed by the Bilkent Wind Quartet. Next, students Nermin Özdemir (ECON), Ekin Korkmaz (MAN), Irmak Yücel (ECON), Gencay Işıl Başıbüyük (ECON) and Mert Alagözlü (ME) presented their HIST200 project, “Atatürk ve Moda [Atatürk and Fashion].”
Following this, Prof. Ece Göztepe Çelebi of the Faculty of Law gave a tribute titled “Atatürk’ün Türkiye’sinde Haklara Sahip Olma Hakkı: Kadınların Seçme ve Seçilme Hakkı [The Right to Have Rights in Atatürk’s Turkey: Women’s Right to Vote and Be Elected].”
She began by noting that Atatürk’s understanding of the revolution would be considered a constituent revolution according to the classification of the political philosopher Hannah Arendt. Atatürk established the Turkish Republic aiming not only to terminate the rule of the Ottoman dynasty but also to establish a new state. To this end, one of the important demands of the women’s movement – which had recently been achieving success in those years – was the right to vote and be elected. Therefore, this right was ranked first in Atatürk’s revolution. However, although the right to vote and be elected was gained in 1934, it did not fully materialize due to social conditions, and women’s representation in parliament has never reached more than 17.8 percent, contrary to the spirit of the revolution.Prof. Göztepe Çelebi concluded her remarks by declaring that it is obligatory for Atatürk’s constituent understanding of the revolution to be maintained by the new generation, since a static perception of rights would be contrary to the spirit of the Republic that was entrusted by Atatürk to the youth of Turkey.
On the morning of November 10, members of the Bilkent community gathered at Bilkent’s Atatürk Monument to observe a moment of silence. That evening, the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fawzi Haimor, presented a concert in memory of Atatürk. The performance, which took place at the Bilkent Concert Hall, included pieces by Yayalar, Vivaldi, Torelli and Beethoven.