Turkey marks Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day
Turkey will celebrate Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day on May 19, with various events planned in the capital Ankara and around the country.
The day marks the 98th anniversary of the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence after Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, went from allied-occupied Istanbul to Samsun on the Black Sea coast on May 19, 1919.
In Ankara, official ceremonies will be held in parliament and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk.
A group of youths gathered yesterday at Uğur Mumcu Park in Samsun and marched to the city’s Cumhuriyet (Republic) Square, passing down İstiklal (Independence) Avenue with torchlights and flags in the company of a marching band.
The ceremonies will continue today in the city, with the Turkish Air Force’s aerobatic demonstration team, the Turkish Stars, set to perform an air show at 4 p.m. There will also be a flag parade at 6:30 p.m. in which a 1,919-meter-long Turkish flag will be carried by the participants.
Atatürk landed in Samsun at the start of a political and military resistance developed by Turkish people against the allied partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat in World War 1. The war ended on Oct. 29, 1923 and Atatürk dedicated May 19 to the country’s youth.
Meanwhile, police detained seven of nine suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in four cities yesterday for “planning a sensational attack” on the May 19 ceremonies.
The operations were initiated on a directive by the İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office and included the cities of İzmir, Istanbul, the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum and the southeastern province of Mardin. The suspects were alleged to have fought for ISIL in Syria.