Ankara - II. Turkish Grand National Assembly Museum of the Republic
The building, designed by architect Vedat Tek (1873-1942) and built as the Republican People's Party Headquarters in 1923, was later converted to function as the Assembly building. The two-storey building also has a basement floor. The centrally located two-storey high main assembly hall is surrounded by rooms on three sides. The main entrance hall, which stretches all along the entry facade, has two grand stairs at opposite ends and its ceiling is decorated with Seljuk and Ottoman ornaments and patterns. The main assembly hall, with audience boxes arranged in sections within, is also decorated in a similar style. Its star patterned timber ceiling, arcs, cornices and many sections with mosaic decorations, except the crown door and a few other items, which are included into the main hall afterwards, reflect the architectural characteristics of its time.
I. Turkish Grand National Assembly building, in spite of some alterations made later, was inadequate to satisfy the growing needs of the Assembly of the Turkish Republic. That is why the II. Turkish Grand National Assembly was built and opened on 18 October 1924.
II. Turkish Grand National Assembly is an important building in which Atatürk’s principals and reforms came to life, the most important decisions taken on the way to develop the new Republic by contemporary legislation, also where the international treaties and agreements made to increase Turkey's prestige and activities in the international arena and the transition to a multiple party system took place between 1924 - 1960. II. Turkish Grand National Assembly played an important role in Turkish political history for a period of 36 years until 27 May 1960. After moving the Assembly to its new modern building in 1961, the building was allotted to the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). The building functioned as the headquarters of CENTO between the years 1961 and 1979 and after the abolishing of CENTO in the same year, it was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. The decision was made to arrange the front section of the building as the Museum of the Republic and the rear section as the administration building for the the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums. The museum section, after refurbishment and restorations, opened to public exhibition on 30 October 1981 as “Museum of the Republic”. It functioned with this arrangement until 1985. This same year it was closed to public and new restoration work started. The work continued until 1991 and in January 1992 the museum reopened to public. The events comprising the era of the first three presidents of the Republic are presented by their own words, speeches, photos and personal items and also the decisions taken and the laws passed by the Grand Assembly during the same period are on display in this museum.
Sections of the Museum
First Room on the Right Side of the Corridor
This room, originally the Accountancy Room of the II. Turkish Grand National Assembly, today is called “Atatürk's Principles Room”. Atatürk’s Republican, Nationalist, Populist, Statist, Secularist and Reformist principals are presented by his own words and photos through illuminated panels in this room.
Second Room on the Right Side of the Corridor
What originally was the prayer room of the II. Turkish Grand National Assembly, today is “Atatürk’s Reforms Room”. The Constitution, establishment of new laws, dress and attire reforms, international calendar, time and measurements, new Turkish Alphabet, surname law, Great Speech, X. Year Speech, Turkish Aviation Society; railways, economy, industry and events related to Atatürk’s reforms, legislation proposals, laws, newspaper clips, Atatürk’s words and photos, items related to above subjects are exhibited in this room through illuminated panels and showcases.
Third Room on the Right Side of the Entrance
Originally used as “Legal Proceedings Secretariat” room during the Second Turkish Grand National Assembly, it is today “Atatürk Room.” Atatürk's signatures and handwritings of his own words and speeches, abolishing of religious orders and cells, establishment of the Turkish Historical and Turkish Language Societies, foreign policy, Montreux Agreement of Turkish Straits, agriculture, archeology and fine arts, granting the Turkish women’s suffrage and the events about Atatürk’s death, are presented by illuminated panels and showcases. Some of Atatürk’s personal belongings are also displayed in this room.
First Room on the Left Side of the Entrance
During the Second Turkish Grand National Assembly this room was used as “Legislation Secretariat Room.” Today in this room, III. President of the Republic Mahmut Celal Bayar's life and events between 1950 and 1960 are presented in his own words and photographs. Some of his personal belongings, donated to the museum by his family, are also displayed in this room.
Second Room on the Left Side of the Entrance
Originally used as “Board of Directors Room” or “Administrative Committee Room” during the Second Turkish Grand National Assembly period. Today it is being used to display banknotes and coins, stamps, memorial coins and medals which were put into circulation since the founding of the Republic.
Third Room on the Left Side of the Entrance
Originally used as “Archives Secretariat Room” during the Second Turkish Grand National Assembly period. Today it is being used to display the II. President of the Republic, Ismet Inönü's life and events between 1938 and 1950 in his own words and photographs. Some of his personal belongings, donated to the museum by his family, are also on display in this room.
Main Assembly Hall
The General Assembly Hall of the Second Turkish Grand National Assembly period has a very important place in the history of the Turkish Republic. From the very first days of the Republic, this hall had been the centre stage of all the speeches, decisions taken to materialize the great enterprises of the nation. The Assembly’s presidential pulpit is located at the centre between the main entries of the hall.The entries are for the Ambassadors’ lodges and the Honourable Presidential lodge is on the left side and the audience and press boxes are at the back of the hall. In this hall that the number of members of parliaments at times had been up to 610, between 1924 - 1960.
In order to achieve the present day modern museum exhibition, and for the better education of the visitors, live presentation techniques are used, the natural environment preserved and wax statues are made for this purpose. Atatürk’s Great Speech, given on 15 - 20 October 1927, the most important document and the source of the history of the Turkish Republic, starting from the Independence War, is presented in this hall. Important passages of the speech are also narrated by the actors of the State Theatre to support the live presentation.
The Great Speech is the most important source of our political and military history, and also the most mature and beautiful example of Turkish oratory art.
This Speech is a first hand account of Rebirth of the Nation, Independence War and the first years of the Republic (1919 - 1927) based on documents and sources in great detail.
Love of the Nation, respects to the humanity and understanding of morality are the basics of this speech. Atatürk says “The day I arrived in Samsun in May 1919, I had no power in my hands, only highest spiritual power filling my conscience stemming from the nobility of the Turkish Nation. Trusting only in this power and in the Turkish Nation I started this noble mission.”
This building was converted to a museum after being transferred to the Ministry of Culture after having functioned as the Turkish Grand National Assembly until 1960. Today in this museum, besides the routine exhibitions, occasional exhibitions, video shows and serial conferences take place in order to introduce the Independence War, the Republic and Atatürk to the visitors, especially to the young generation.
Second Floor of the Museum
During the II. Turkish Grand National Assembly the second floor rooms were Presidential Room, Presidential Reception Room where the President received the foreign and Turkish statesmen, President’s Private Secretary’s Room, Prime Minister and Cabinet Rooms, Assembly Chairman’s Room, Assembly Chairman's Private Secretary's Room and Committee Room. However, the functions of the rooms were altered from time to time according to the changing conditions.
Address: Cumhuriyet Avenue, Ulus / Ankara
Telephone: +90 (312) 311 04 73