Turkey celebrates Children’s Day and parliament’s 98th anniversary
Turkey celebrated National Sovereignty and Children’s Day as well as the 98th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Parliament on April 23 in official ceremonies in Ankara and various celebrations across the country.
In the morning, top government officials and politicians attended a ceremony held at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, including parliamentary speaker İsmail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, and other dignitaries.
“The Turkish Grand National Assembly [parliament], which you [Atatürk] presided over for the first time, continues its duty with great faith and dedication,” wrote Kahraman in remarks in the mausoleum’s memorial guestbook.
“Turkey will develop further and will always move forward,” said the parliamentary speaker. “We commemorate you with these feelings,” he said.
This special day in Turkey is marked by a festival for children, and programs held in public offices, schools, and the private sector.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a meeting with a group of children at the presidential complex, and symbolically gave his seat to Fatih Mintas, 12, as Turkey’s head of state.
The sixth-grade student took questions from the press on current issues in Turkey. Erdoğan later received children in his office.
Similarly, Yıldırım also convened a symbolic cabinet meeting with children at the Çankaya Palace in Ankara.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also issued a statement to mark Children’s Day.
“April 23, 1920 was the day our nation broke the yoke of oppression and entered the stage of history. The advancement of democracy and the strengthening of the rule of law ensure peace and development,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his statement.
The nation’s future
In his message marking the day, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said reaching a happier and safer future is the only aim in the past and present for Turkey’s parliament.
Dedicating this important date to children and celebrating the “birthday of this parliament” with children is something else that sets Turkey’s parliament apart from the rest of the world, Soylu added.
The Turkish General Staff celebrated the occasion with a special poster featuring the photos of children of martyred Turkish soldiers.
On its Turkish homepage, Google featured a special doodle on April 23, spelling out its name with a children’s marching band led by the Turkish flag.
The April 23 celebrations focus on children after Atatürk, the parliament’s first speaker, who dedicated the day to children as the nation’s future.
During the War of Independence, Turkey’s Grand National Assembly or parliament met in Ankara, which became the country’s capital, for the first time in 1920 to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.