May 19 commemoration marked in shadow of mining disaster

May 19 commemoration marked in shadow of mining disaster

May 19 commemoration marked in shadow of mining disaster

AA Photo

Turkey marked May 19 Youth and Sports Day under a shadow of mourning for the 301 who died last week in the tragic mine accident in Soma.

Although almost all official celebrations were cancelled, Anıtkabir, the Ankara mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was open to visits by citizens. Hundreds of people, including students from various schools, sports clubs and foreign tourists, visited the mausoleum and left red and white carnations.

Youth and Sports Minister Çağatay Kılıç visited Anıtkabir after leaving a wreath at Atatürk’s mausoleum, and signed the guestbook with a message in which he commemorated the victims of Soma.

The day is celebrated in honor of the arrival of Ataturk to Samsun on May 19, 1919, when Turkey’s War of Independence began.

Meanwhile, 1,919 members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), who began marching to Ankara from Samsun a few days ago, arrived at Kızılay Square and sang the national anthem there. They then marched on to Anıtkabir, chanting slogans.

In a meeting with youngsters at his office, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey was marking the day with grief. “I want to see young people in decision making mechanisms,” Erdoğan added, stating that his government was working to decrease the minimum age to elect and be elected from 25 to 18. At the moment, all those elected to public office must be at least 25 years old.