World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey will experience a first in this year's Victory Day celebrations on Aug. 30 when President Abdullah Gül holds a reception with spouses traditionally hosted by the chief of General Staff, at the Çankaya presidential palace as commander-in-chief of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Invitations have reportedly been mailed to invitees including Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and commanders of the land, air and sea forces.
A change in the venue and host of the Victory Day celebrations is a critical move, considering Turkey's problematic civilian-military balance. None of the commanders have attended any the receptions held by President Gül and his wife, Hayrunnisa Gül, since his election to office in 2007 as they object to the first lady's wearing of a headscarf. In order to avoid conflict, the Presidency held two separate receptions on Republic Day on Oct. 29 in 2007, 2008 and 2009, one during the day without spouses and one at night with spouses. If the commanders wanted to avoid shaking hands with the first lady in the reception line, they could attend the daytime reception. In 2010, the Presidency started to hold only one reception at night, but the commanding members of the TSK did not attend due to another reception held on the same day and time. In 2011, heavy losses as a result of terrorist activities led to the cancellation of all receptions in all government institutions.
This year, following the adoption of a new regulation, the president will be the only host. Gül is scheduled to attend celebrations at the Hippodrome in the morning and will then hold the reception at the Çankaya palace. If the commanders attend the first Victory Day celebration with spouses to be held at the presidential palace on Aug. 30, this symbolic act will mark the beginning of a new era in civilian-military relations in Turkey.Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2012, 18:02