Türkiye marks National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
Türkiye marks its National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23, a unique occasion devoted almost a century ago to children of the country and world by the republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Türkiye marked its National Sovereignty and Children’s Day and the 103rd anniversary of the foundation of the country’s Parliament on Sunday, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah.
National Education Minister Mahmut Özer kicked off the day by accompanying a group of children on a visit to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, in the capital Ankara.
The Turkish nation has full “faith and confidence … in our children, to whom we will entrust our holy homeland,” Özer said in his message.
He also praised Atatürk and the Turkish parliamentarians who led the country’s War of Independence.
The National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Türkiye are marked by a festival for children, as well as special events at public offices, schools and in the private sector.
As part of the celebration Özer, who had gathered a group of children in his office, symbolically handed his seat to 11-year-old Kaan Can, adding that “This country will continue to live forever, with its talented, self-confident, analytical thinking children (as you are), adorning the values of this land.”
An official delegation in the capital also attended the ceremony held in Ataturk’s mausoleum, Anitkabir. Attendees included Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Labor and Social Security Minister Vedat Bilgin, leader of Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, members of the Parliamentary Presidency, representatives of political parties and deputies.
Celebrating the 103rd anniversary of Parliament’s establishment and Children’s Day, many officials also shared related messages on their social accounts.
“I sincerely congratulate the 103rd anniversary of the establishment of our Turkish Grand National Assembly and National Sovereignty and Children’s Day of our children, who are the guarantee of our future, and I commemorate with gratitude all the heroes of our national struggle, especially Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,” Oktay said in a tweet.
First lady Emine Erdogan also issued a statement on Twitter.
“The hope of Türkiye, who will proudly fly our noble flag for centuries, is our children. I wish the excitement in their eyes and the determination to succeed in their hearts never diminishes, and I embrace each of them with love,” she said.
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day celebrations, although held in all provinces, from central Konya, Aksaray, Karaman and Afyonkarahisar to Istanbul, the capital Ankara, western Izmir, and Muğla, are overshadowed this year by the countrywide mourning for the thousands lost in the devastating earthquakes in the southeast in February.
Yet, through the activities organized, smiles were brought to the faces of children across the country, including quake-torn Karamanmaraş and Hatay.
A group of children in Hatay’s Iskenderun district celebrated their day in the garden of Atatürk Primary School wearing red shirts, waving flags and singing the national anthem, Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported.
Children’s club members of Istanbul Airport Operator IGA and students of Istanbul Airport Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School decorated 35 bicycles and presented them to earthquake victims, according to Anadolu Agency (AA) reports Sunday.
As part of the project called “Happy Pedals,” the bicycles were prepared for the children of earthquake-affected families hosted by IGA at Akpınar Campus in Arnavutköy.
In several forms of celebrations, children dance, sing, and recite poems while dressed typically in red. According to DHA, one particularly emotional celebration took place in the northern province of Ordu, with fathers and grandpas joining the dancing with the kids.
One of the attendees at the celebration in the sports center, Burak Ulusal noted he was dancing for the first time with his daughter.
“I was very excited, I went back to my childhood,” he said, adding that although they had practiced the performance at home, it was different to dance there. “Happy April 23 to all the children,” Ulusal added.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly met for the first time in Ankara in 1920 during the War of Independence to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.