August 30th is a major holiday in Turkey. It commemorates the victory of the Turkish forces at the final battle in Dumlupınar. This victory is significant because it ended the Turkish Independence War in 1922 and resulted in the founding of the Turkish Republic. This year it became a 4-day weekend for many. I had the unique opportunity to wander the streets in the morning and observe some of the festivities.
Like most Turkish holidays, flags covered each and every building, bus and monument. Each neighborhood had special banners to commemorate the event. For this holiday, naval and army troops gathered at the monument in Taksim Square for a special ceremony. Beautiful Navy ships covered the Bosphorus. And, to my surprise, a band of leather jacket wearing men with Turkish flags on their backs rode their motorcycles through Besiktas as their crew formed for the afternoon parade. It was a wonderful spectacle and celebration.