Turkey marks April 23 under nationwide curfew
Turkey marked National Sovereignty and Children’s Day together with the 101st anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Parliament on April 23, with official ceremonies held and attendees abiding by social distancing and curfew rules amid the pandemic.
Every year, the country celebrates the establishment of the parliament bestowed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, with National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23.
However, due to the 82-hour-long curfew that is in effect until 5 a.m. on April 26 across all provinces in Turkey in line with coronavirus measures, a limited number of symbolic events took place, just like last year, instead of large-scale celebrations in the country’s stadiums and streets.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan marked the country's April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
"We've been in the struggle to bring our country to its 2023 targets for 19 years," he said in a ceremony in metropolis Istanbul, adding that the country's children would carry it even further with a "2053 vision."
Turkey will mark the centenary of the foundation of the republic in 2023, setting specific progress targets for improvement the economy, energy, health care, education, and transport.
"We're in an effort to leave our republic, which is approaching its 100th year, to the next generations by growing and strengthening it in every field," Erdoğan said.
He stressed that though the malicious methods of those who seek to divide Turkey and its nation have changed, their intentions have remained the same.
"Every attack targeting this country and nation, from coup plotters to terrorist organizations and economic traps, is the product of the same dirty scenario," he said.
"May Allah not leave our country obliged to struggle another War of Independence and write another Turkish National Anthem," Erdoğan added.
Standing among children more than a dozen children, Erdoğan pressed the button to raise a giant Turkish flag near Istanbul's Camlica Mosque complex on country's tallest flagpole of 111 meters (364 feet).
In the morning, ahead of the special session of parliament, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, top government officials, and politicians attended a ceremony held at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk.
After Şentop left a wreath made of red and white carnations at the mausoleum, participants observed a moment of silence and sang the national anthem.
The ceremony was also attended by Vice President Fuat Oktay, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, the members of the presidential cabinet and lawmakers.
Later, a special session began with Şentop’s inaugural speech in parliament, and leading lawmakers from all political parties represented in parliament also addressed the General Assembly.
To mark the day, most of the citizens hung Turkish flags from their houses’ balconies and many skyscrapers across Istanbul were decorated with giant Turkish flags, drawing the attention of many Istanbul residents.