Turkey celebrates 93rd year of republic amid concerns of one-man rule

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ANKARA, TURKEY - OCTOBER 29: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) visits the Anitkabir, the mausoleum of the founder of Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, during a ceremony marking the 93rd Anniversary of Republic Day on October 29, 2016 in Ankara, Turkey. Halil Sagirkaya / Anadolu Agency

The Republic of Turkey on Saturday celebrated its birthday and foundation by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on Oct. 29, 1923 amid increasing fears of one-man rule under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Municipalities with mayors from the founding party of secular Turkey, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), organized celebrations in their cities while official ceremonies were also held in Ankara.

As part of official celebrations, Erdoğan visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk, for a ceremony marking the 93rd anniversary of the republic.

Concerns over the democratic and secular nature of the republic were running high on social media as messages emphasizing secularism and Atatürk’s Turkey were abundant on both on Facebook and Twitter.

Erdoğan aims to switch the system of governance in Turkey to an executive presidency that he describes as “Turkish style,” while the remaining critical voices in the country fear that would further erode the separation of powers and weaken checks and balances.

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