Turkey marks Children Day and 97th anniversary of parliament

Turkey marks Children Day and 97th anniversary of parliament

Turkey marks Children Day and 97th anniversary of parliament

DHA photo

Turkey celebrated National Sovereignty and Children’s Day as well as the 97th anniversary of the foundation of Parliament on April 23 in official ceremonies in Ankara, as well as various celebrations across the country. 

The ceremonies began with a visit to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey under the leadership of acting Parliamentary Speaker Ahmet Aydın and with the participation of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli. 

As part of a longstanding tradition on April 23, Turkish leaders give their seats to children at a symbolic meeting to emphasize that the future belongs to the new generations. Following official ceremonies, both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Yıldırım duly hosted groups of children, giving up their seats at symbolic meetings. 

A fourth-grade student, Yiğit Türk, became temporary head of the nation in place of Erdoğan and responded to reporters’ questions over current political issues. Yıldırım also gave his seat to fifth-grade student Yağız Keçe, who established a cabinet full of children. 

Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz, along with teachers and students, also paid a visit to the mausoleum. 

In his message to mark the day, Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted that it was apt that children were celebrating sovereignty that was gained after a huge resistance. “The future is in your [children’s] hands. A happy festival to you,” he added.        

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Turkey had become a hope for oppressed people from Somalia to Myanmar and Palestine to Syria. Soylu said the country had supported 1,541,387 foreign children under different projects.        

Turkish missions and Turkish expats also organized several activities to mark the day. Children were made the focus of April 23 celebrations after Ataturk, the first speaker of the parliament, dedicated the day to children as the nation’s future.        

The Grand National Assembly met for the first time in Ankara in 1920 during the War of Independence to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.