President Erdoğan at Anıtkabir
President Gül, upon his arrival at Anıtkabir, was welcomed by the Governor of Ankara, Alaadin Yüksel; Mayor Melih Gökçek of Ankara; Garrison Commander Lt. Gen. Metin İyidil and Anıtkabir Commander Col. Muzaffer Taytak.
President Erdoğan and the officials accompanying him proceeded to Atatürk’s tomb through the Lion Road and laid a wreath at the mausoleum in front of which he stood in homage. Afterwards, the national anthem was sung.
The President later wrote the following in the Anıtkabir Special Book at the Misak-ı Milli Tower:
I am taking office today as the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey who was elected by popular vote for the first time.
Unfortunately, following your death on November 10, 1938 when you were in office as the first President of the Republic of Turkey, the ties between the Presidency and the people were weakened. The people and their President were distanced from each other. We made an amendment in the constitution in 2007, thus enabling the people to elect directly the president. This historic change was practiced for the first time on August 10. As I am taking office as the first president elected by popular vote, I believe that this occasion is an opportunity for the people and their president as well as the state and the nation to embrace each other with love once again.
You and your comrades-in-arm initiated a struggle for future following the war of independence, thus demonstrating tireless efforts to raise the level of Turkey to that of the modern civilizations. The struggle that you launched culminated in a new victory when the president was elected by popular vote on August 10.
Today when the first president who was elected by popular vote has taken office is the day when Turkey has risen from its ashes and the new Turkey’s efforts toward construction and development have gained more strength. You can be sure that today is the day when the spirit, essence, dream and ideals of the great Turkey, the first steps of which you took on April 23, 1920, have been resurrected.
Turkey, today, has embraced the resources of deep-rooted civilizations once again, met with its essence and further strengthened the national sovereignty. On the first day of my office, I promise to my nation that I am going to make efforts more than ever for our country, our land, our state, our flag and more importantly for our great nation.
I hereby remember you, all our martyrs and war veterans with tribute and gratitude. May you rest in peace.”
President Erdoğan enjoyed great enthusiasm of citizens greeting him along the road to Anıtkabir.