29th October 1923 marked the birth of the new Turkish Republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, whom we now know as Ataturk (the father of the Turks). What a birth! Imagine being born out of the defeat in WWI, the Ottoman Empire broken up, the French occupying an area in the southern Turkey, British troops in Istanbul, the Greek army not long ejected from Izmir and the newly formed Soviet Union hoping to find a socialist ally along their Caucasian borders. The birth of this new nation saw the right to vote being given to women in 1930, a new alphabet to replace the use of Arabic as the national script introduced during the late 1920s, and the secularisation of the state. So here we are 93 years on: the great achievements of Turgut Özal in the 1980s and 1990s sadly slipping away. His death remains a puzzle: was he poisoned? So we watch as Turkey heads towards its centenary as a republic, and dearly hope that the gains of the last nine decades are not swept away: İyi ki doğdun (happy birthday).