CHP rallies in Ankara, Istanbul for May 19
ANKARAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu joined his party’s youth branch on May 19 to march to Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founding father Atatürk, to mark the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.
The gathering went ahead despite a police intervention forcing the cortege to march down an alternative road on the route.
The CHP youth organized a march from the capital’s central Güvenpark to Anıtkabir with the attendance of party leader Kılıçdaroğlu and deputies, but met with police opposition due to the lack of official authorization. Security authorities cited intelligence warnings about possible terror attacks targeting the May 19 celebrations to prevent the crowd from marching.
Following negotiations between CHP deputies and the police, the cortege was allowed to march down Kumrular Street instead of the Gazi Mustafa Kemal Avenue toward the entrance of Anadolu Square, which is also the entrance point of Anıtkabir.
Prior to the march, Kılıçdaroğlu addressed members of the press, emphasizing his happiness about being together with the youth on the holiday.
“We are striving together to reach the level of contemporary civilization, as described by [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, amid slogans in support of Atatürk, the CHP, and secularism.
Once they reached the mausoleum, participants chanted the “10th Year Anthem,” a popular anthem composed in 1933 to mark the tenth year of the republic.
Addressing the crowd at the mausoleum, the CHP head criticized the obstacles to the march imposed by the police.
“Do not forget that May 19 is the day of resurrection for the Turkish Republic. We do not submit to bans,” he said, adding that they are “the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal.”
Kılıçdaroğlu later marched down the Lion Road toward the mausoleum and placed a wreath on Atatürk’s place of rest, followed by a minute of silence.
The CHP leader was also set to attend a ceremony to mark 5,000 young member to join the party late on May 19, as the Hürriyet Daily News went to print. The ceremony was set to be held at Yoğutçu Park in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, a well-known location for hosting forums during and after the anti-government Gezi Park protests of 2013.
Erdoğan, Davutoğlu host youth
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted a group of young people at his presidential palace in Ankara for the Youth and Sports Day, saying he expects the youth to produce their “dreams and ideals for the 2053 and 2071 visions.”
“We won’t be alive in 2071, but we will watch you from the eternal universe. We have been working to hand over a better Turkey than the one we received. I believe that you will deliver a more powerful Turkey to the generations after you,” Erdoğan told his guests.
“We need young people who raise their arms not to protest and punch, but to greet, pray and work. We want to entrust our future to the young people whose hearts are alive with a love for the country and the people, not anger, resentment and hate,” he said, adding that “walking with the people should be their priority.”
“People are either commemorated with curses or they are commemorated with mercy. My wish is to be one of those who are commemorated with mercy,” Erdoğan also said.
Outgoing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also hosted a group of youth representatives from 81 provinces, noting that they will “probably be his last guests” at the Çankaya Mansion in Ankara before the end of his term.
“You should know that it is not a crime or a flaw to take part in youth movements,” Davutoğlu said, adding that a person should stand up for their ideals during their youth.
“We do not want a passive youth. We do not want a youth that accepts what they are told. We want a youth that talks, thinks, debates, criticizes but never resort to hateful language or violence, and never gets involved in terrorism,” he added.
Army prepares film
The Turkish Armed Forces also marked the day, releasing a film prepared for the occasion entitled “May 19: All My Hope is in the Youth,” echoing a quote of Atatürk.
The film included footage of a football match between a team of young people and a team of gendarmerie officials which ends in a draw. The soldiers later give uniforms to the young footballers, prompting them to join the armed forces.
The film ends with commemorations of security officials killed or injured during recent clashes.