On Friday, November 10th, 2023, the Yunus Emre Institute was able to honor Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Türkiye, with the gala “Revealing Atatürk: Unmasking the Myths of a Visionary.” Held at the highly respected US Navy Memorial, the institute’s gala consisted of both a reception and the screening of the new 2023 film. The guests got to walk down the red carpet and take pictures in front of the backdrop before enjoying a traditional light Turkish fair and Turkish tea. The tables were draped with traditional Turkish tablecloths and decorated with red tulips, the national flower of Türkiye.
As the excitement for the screening built, the crowd entered the theater to listen to the opening remarks. Both Hasan Murat Mercan, the Turkish Ambassador to the United States of America, and Gokhan Coskun, the Executive Director of the Yunus Emre Institute USA, spoke about the legacy and historical importance of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Director Coskun’s words captured the immense importance of the night as he said, “Atatürk's legacy is not static; it is a living testament to visionary thinking and unwavering dedication… May this exploration awaken our understanding of his humanity, his profound intellect, and the enduring legacy that continues to shape our world.” This screening was an expedition into the very heart of a nation, a celebration of a visionary spirit, and an invitation to witness the touching transformation of an ordinary life into an extraordinary and enduring legacy. November 10th, 2023 marks 85 years since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s passing, which is why we chose to highlight his legacy and screen this film that day.
Then, the lights dimmed, the crowd quieted, and the film began. A story including the challenges and successes of the founding father of the Republic of Türkiye, the nation’s first president and its supreme commander of the Turkish War of Independence, filled the theater. After the movie finished, the crowd was lively, refilling the venue and chatting all about the film and the beautiful reception they had just enjoyed. Many were left eagerly waiting for the next film to be released to finish the story. Thank you to all who joined the incredible evening and enjoyed the gala!