Turkey marks Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day
The day marks the 99th anniversary of the start of the War of Independence after the Republic of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, journeyed from allied-occupied Istanbul to Samsun on the Black Sea coast on May 19, 1919.
In Ankara, official ceremonies will be held at parliament and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk, which up to 40,000 students visited on May 17 in order to pay their respects.
Around the country, the day is scheduled to be celebrated through various events including concerts, performances and gatherings.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on May 18 celebrated the day in a statement released via his office’s official website.
“I celebrate Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day on May 19 with my sincerest wishes,” read the statement signed by Yıldırım said.
“Just as our country was founded based on national sovereignty, so shall it excel on the same principle,” it added.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also celebrated the day with a message he took out on May 18.
“Those who arrived in Samsun on May 19, 1919 began a struggle to make this country live independently and without becoming a prisoner or slave to anyone,” his message read.
“That struggle continues today,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
Atatürk landed in Samsun at the start of a political and military resistance against the allied partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat in the First World War. The independence war ended on Oct. 29, 1923 and Atatürk dedicated May 19 to the country’s youth.