Thousands throng Anıtkabir on Children’s Day

Thousands throng Anıtkabir on Children’s Day

Thousands throng Anıtkabir on Children’s Day

Thousands flocked to Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, in the capital Ankara to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Turkish parliament and the April 23 Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

“The enthusiasm of Children’s Day has come back to the streets and agoras on April 23 after a two-year halt due to the coronavirus,” with local newspapers headlining the events on April 24 organized across the country.

Within the scope of events, agoras of all 81 provinces were beautified with Turkish flags and children taking the stage in various activities celebrating the day.

All eyes were on Anıtkabir, where the April 23 celebrations were held with only state officials present in the last two years. The official number of visitors on April 23 was not announced as the daily went to press on April 24, but local media said “thousands ran to Atatürk with their children nearby or on shoulders.”

“After two years of silence, the patter of tiny feet filled Anıtkabir,” local dailies reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met children at the Children Festival held by state-run broadcaster TRT with first lady Emine Erdoğan.

Speaking at the event, the president pointed out the wars and their impact on children.

“Children are the most important motivation source for us to show efforts to end the war. Cheerful sounds must ring in children’s ears, not the noise of bombs,” he said.

Remembering the wars in Syria and Ukraine, he said, “There is an ongoing tragedy in the south where tens of thousands of children have died, and I follow a war that brought painful consequences in the north.”

The president also issued a message on behalf of the establishment of the Turkish parliament.

“The Turkish parliament, which has left a century with pride and honor behind, will be the indestructible manifestation of our national sovereignty,” he said in the message and went on to say: “Remembering Mustafa Kemal, the first president of the parliament, the first lawmakers of the parliament that have also led the Independence War and all our heroes to who we owe our freedom, I celebrate the day of our and the world’s children.”

The president also attended an iftar event with Emine Erdoğan, in a children’s facility in Istanbul’s Maltepe district late on April 23.

In a symbolic event in Ankara, some 102 children took seats in the Turkish parliament on April 23.

Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop entered a symbolic motion to leave his seat to a girl. Some of the children seated as lawmakers opposed the motion, causing laughter in the joyful ceremony.

“[Our] National struggle is not a completed process. It is perpetual and will go on uninterrupted,” Şentop said in an address to the children.

İskenderpaşa Primary School in Istanbul’s Fatih district was another place where an attention-grabbing event was held.

A total of 194 out of the school’s 1,034 students are from 29 countries, mostly suffering from wars in their homelands.

Ali Zhuharenko, 8-year-old Ukrainian, and fourth-grade students Omar Alalı and Osama Gashab from Syria were just three of them who took the stage at the event. Speaking with a single voice, the three children said, “We made a wish that all wars end across the globe.”