Turkish State Cemetery (Turkish language: Devlet Mezarlığı) is a national and military cemetery in Ankara, Turkey, containing the graves of the presidents of Turkey and the high-ranked, close companions-in-arms of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, in the Turkish War of Independence.
The cemetery was established upon an act dated November 10, 1981. It is situated around the "Karadeniz Havuzu" (Black Sea Pool) on the grounds of the historical "Atatürk Orman Çiftliği" (Atatürk Forest Ranch) in Ankara. The architect Özgür Ecevit and the agronomist Ekrem Gürenli, who won the contest organized by the Ministry of National Defense in 1982, designed the state cemetery.
It was opened on August 30, 1988 with a state funeral ceremony for the transferred bodies of two presidents, Cemal Gürsel and Cevdet Sunay, and of 61 commanders of the War of Independence. At the opening ceremony were present, President Kenan Evren, Prime Minister Turgut Özal, and leaders of the political parties represented in the parliament, Erdal İnönü (SHP) and Süleyman Demirel (DYP), and members of the President's Council.
The cemetery is administrated by the Ministry of National Defense.
The memorial park
It is memorial park with an area of 536,000 m² open to the public, of which 180,000 m² is planned and the remaining is green area. The Black Sea Pool, built in 1931 by the order of Atatürk, was restored during the establishment of the state cemetery. The surrounding area of the pool serves today as a recreational park.
A road within the cemetery flanked by marble sculptures, called "Cumhuriyet Tarihi Yolu" (History of the Republic Road), is dedicated to the milestones in the era of the rebirth of the nation. This collection of artworks features the first-ever large-scale sculpture arrangement in Turkey. The road starts with a statue symbolizing the beginning of the War of Independence by landing Atatürk’s in Samsun on May 19, 1919. Sculptures remembering the congresses in Erzurum and Sivas, establishment of the new parliament in Ankara follow. In the section of wars, 5 columns stand in the water with inscriptions from the "Büyük Söylev" (Grand Speech) of Atatürk. A sculpture erected for the Peace Treaty of Lausanne accomplishes this section. Reliefs on both sides of the road in this section describe the foundation of the regular armed forces, First and Second İnönü Battles, Battle of the Sakarya and the Battle of Dumlupınar. The last artwork is a single abstract sculpture symbolizing the abolition of the office of caliphate by the republic. A team of Turkish sculptors led by the renowned artist Rahmi Aksungur created the artworks.
A funeral ceremony place borders the graveyard, which is decorated by two sculpture groups on both sides showing scenes from the War of Independence. An octagon structure in the form of a Turkic yurt, called "Simge" (Symbol), is found at the end of the ceremony place, which serves as a shelter against bright light, heat or precipitation. A wall under the "Simge" memorizes the burials with their names carved on it, and looks like an unfinished one. For every new president of Turkey, a stone is added to this "Anısal Duvar" (Memorial Wall) to express the continuity of the republic. A flagpole of 25 meters tall is erected in the graveyard of presidents, symbolizing the development of the republic.
The state cemetery is served by the city bus line 365 from Kızılay, or public bus line 339 from Sıhhiye Bridge.
Inside the cemetery, a museum exhibits personal belongings, photos and printed media of the burials. It is open weekdays except Monday and Tuesday.
The personalities, who are entitled to be buried in the state cemetery are, according to law, state presidents and commanders of the War of Independence only. In November 2006, an act of parliament extended the list of persons to prime ministers and speakers of the parliament to enable the burial of former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit in the state cemetery, who died on November 5, 2006.
- Bülent Ecevit
1 Mareşal (Field marshal), 11 Birinci Feriks, 14 Feriks, 20 Mirlivas, 14 Miralay (Colonel)s and 1 Kaymakam (Lieutenant Colonel), who were selected from companion-in-arms of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the Turkish War of Independence, in total 61 commanders rest here. But tombs of 11 commanders are empty and only symbolic monument.
- 1 Fevzi Çakmak, Müşir 1922 - Mareşal (Empty, his body lies in the of Türbe of Hüseyin Şeyh, Eyüp Sultan Mezarlığı)
- 2 Ali Fuat Cebesoy, Birinci Ferik 1926 (Empty, his body lies in an atrium of Alifuatpaşa Merkez Camii of Geybe)
- 3 Cevat Çobanlı, Birinci Ferik 1926
- 4 Yakup Şevki Subaşı, Birinci Ferik 1926
- 5 Fahrettin Altay, Birinci Ferik 1926
- 6 Kâzım Özalp, Birinci Ferik 1926
- 7 Kâzım Karabekir, Birinci Ferik 1927
- 8 İzzettin Çalışlar, Birinci Ferik 1930 - Orgeneral
- 9 Kâzım Orbay, Orgeneral 1935
- 10 Abdurrahman Nafiz Gürman, Orgeneral 1940
- 11 Salih Omurtak, Orgeneral 1940
- 12 Mustafa Muğlalı, Orgeneral 1942 (Empty)
- 13 Cemil Cahit Toydemir, Orgeneral 1942
- 14 Sabit Noyan, Orgeneral 1945
- 15 Kâzım İnanç, Ferik 1924
- 16 Şükrü Naili Gökberk, Ferik 1926
- 17 Ali Hikmet Ayerdem, Ferik 1926
- 18 Kemalettin Sami Gökçen, Ferik 1926
- 19 Naci Eldeniz, Ferik 1927
- 20 Nihat Anılmış, Ferik 1928
- 21 Mehmet Kâzım Dirik, Ferik 1928
- 22 Nazmi Solok, Ferik 1930
- 23 Ahmet Naci Tınaz, Ferik 1930
- 24 Ahmet Derviş, Ferik 1930 (Empty)
- 25 Mehmet Kenan Dalbaşar, Ferik 1931
- 26 Ömer Halis Bıyıktay, Ferik 1934 - Korgeneral
- 27 Yusuf İzzet Met, Mirliva 1915 (Empty)
- 28 Refet Bele, Mirliva 1922 (Empty, his body lies in Zincirlikuyu Mezarlığı)
- 29 Rüştü Sakarya, Mirliva 1921
- 30 Selâhattin Âdil, Mirliva 1923
- 31 Kâzım Sevüktekin, Mirliva 1922
- 32 Osman Nuri Koptagel, Mirliva 1922
- 33 Hüseyin Nurettin Özsu, Mirliva 1922
- 34 Mehmet Sabri Erçetin, Mirliva 1922
- 35 Mürsel Bakû, Mirliva 1922
- 36 Halit Karsıalan, Mirliva 1922
- 37 Âşir Atlı, Mirliva 1925
- 38 Akif Erdemgil, Mirliva 1927
- 39 Sıtkı Üke, Mirliva 1927
- 40 Mehmet Suphi Kula, Mirliva 1927 (Empty)
- 41 Cavit Erdel, Mirliva 1927
- 42 Alâattin Koval, Mirliva 1927
- 43 Osman Zati Koral, Mirliva 1926
- 44 Ahmet Zeki Soydemir, Mirliva 1927
- 45 Nazif Kayacık, Mirliva 1928
- 46 Mehmet Hayri Tarhan, Mirliva 1929
- 47 Münip Özsoy, Miralay 1921
- 48 Veysel Özgür, Miralay 1921 (Empty)
- 49 Mehmet Arif Örgüç, Miralay 1921
- 50 Şerif Yaçağaz, Miralay 1921 (Empty)
- 51 Ethem Servet Boral, Miralay 1921 (Empty)
- 52 Ahmet Nuri Öztekin, Miralay 1921 (Empty)
- 53 Mehmet Nâzım Bey, Şehit Miralay 1921
- 54 Hasan Mümtaz Çeçen, Miralay 1921
- 55 Reşat Çiğiltepe, Miralay 1922
- 56 İbrahim Çolak, Miralay 1922
- 57 Mehmet Hulusi Conk, Miralay 1922
- 58 Halit Akmansü, Miralay 1922
- 59 Mehmet Nuri Conker, Miralay 1920
- 60 Ahmet Fuat Bulca, Miralay 1924
- 61 Mahmut Nedim Hendek, Kaymakam 1922
- "Opening ceremony of the State Cemetery". Press Agency of the Turkish Government website (Turkish). http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/AyinTarihi/1988/agustos1988.htm.
- Şamil Tayyar, Ecevit’e komşu 11 boş mezar, Star, November 9, 2006
- Derya Sazak, Devlet Mezarlığı'nda yatan ve yatmayanlar, Milliyet, November 19, 2006
- State Cemetery official website (Turkish)
- List of national cemeteries by country
- List of high-ranking commanders of the Turkish War of Independence
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