soldiers who stand guard at the Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara, undergo a meticulous selection and the training process for perform their difficult ceremony role in front of dignitaries and millions of visitors.
The vast complex in the heart of the Turkish capital is administered by the Anıtkabir Command of the Turkish General Staff, which includes the Guard and Ceremonial Company.
There is a lot of requirements for these guards, who are specially selected among the volunteers of training units of Land of Turkey, air and naval forces, including being at least 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) tall and having no tattoos or scars on visible parts of their body.
The guards who pass the first the exam undergo rigorous training such as endurance testing and walking long distances. “During the selection phasewe ensure that our soldiers have good diction and have no physical or psychological problems problems”, explained the 1st lieutenant Murat Yıldız of the infantry of the army of theair.
“In addition to physical examinations, we carefully choose the soldiers who can internalize moral worth of duties and ceremonies”, he added. The guards remain motionless during their one- shows hours in seven different areas of mausoleum. If ceremonies are to take place in Anitkabir, the number of guards is increased according to the requirements of ceremony.
One of the soldiers on the guard duty in Anıtkabir said, “You know there are times you cannot put into words, serving in East Anitkabir one of them. This is another source of proud to serve before our founding father.”
People who visit the mausoleum take photos with the guards motionless watching them in admiration. Change of guards also arouses great the interest of local and foreign visitors.
Anitkabir is visited by millions of visitors each year. Thousands of people wishing to pay tribute to the founding leader of Turkey visit the mausoleum on his death birthday on November 10. Last year alone, more more than 2 millions people visited the complex, when the number of annual visitors before the pandemic was well over 5 millions at 6 millions.
The complex also ceremonial houses for official holidays and other important occasions, as well as visits from foreign dignitaries who are in Ankara for official visits.