In an article titled “We can celebrate April 23 with more awareness,” Mehmet Barlas from the Sabah daily argues that our perception of history is too self-centered as we keep celebrating April 23 as if we are the only country to have established a new republic. Barlas says our aim is to highlight the victory of Turkey in founding a new republic from an empire’s ashes, but on the other hand, he suggests, we should remind our children in school that all empires that lost in World War I were broken apart, and then new republics were established by the people of those empires, and that almost all of these countries moved their parliaments to other cities. Barlas emphasizes that the importance of the continuity of history should be explained to children. The parliament in Ankara was not created out of nothing, after all; the people of the old Ottoman Empire established it, and although it is now the republic we have, which is surely a more promising regime, old Ottoman conflicts and fights have also been seen during this regime, he says, reiterating the significance of the balance between celebrating the victory of establishing a republic and instilling historical awareness.
Noting that these important national days should not be limited just to celebrations but should help us understand and analyze turning points in our history better, Star’s Mustafa Karaalioğlu says that first of all we celebrate the wrong thing on this day; it is not the day a parliament was founded in Turkey for the first time. Turkey’s (Ottoman Empire’s) first parliament, that is the Meclis-i Mebusan, was founded on March 31, 1877, and it had 115 members. And the parliament founded in 1920 in Ankara was not a new parliament, but a successor to the former one. Almost half of the members of the Meclis-i Mebusan were in the parliament founded in 1920, for example. So why are we going through such confusion with regard to our history, he asks; according to Karaalioğlu it is because the republic founded in 1920 rejected the entire heritage of the Ottoman Empire and aimed to build a new country without a past. Of course, everyone can celebrate whatever they like, he says, but they should also know the truth.