Turkey to mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

Turkey to mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

Turkey to mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

DHA photo

Turkey will mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23, the anniversary of the Turkish Parliament’s foundation, with official ceremonies to be held in Ankara. 

The country celebrates the establishment of the Turkish Parliament with National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23 every year, as it was bestowed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic at the opening ceremony of parliament. 

Although Sovereignty Day is being marked for the 97th time this year, it was 1979 when the day started to be called “International Children’s Year” and the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Institution (TRT) started a festival called “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival.” In its first year, Turkey hosted children from SSCB, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, and went on to host thousands of children from 150 different countries over 39 years.

Ceremonies will be held in the current parliament, the first parliament building, and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk. 

The initial ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. with the laying of a wreath at the Atatürk Monument in parliament. At 9:15 a.m., high-level state officials will attend the ceremony at Anıtkabir and a commemoration will be held in the first parliament at 10 a.m. 

Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman will make a commemoration speech in the first parliament, before moving to the current parliament to accept greetings at 11:30 a.m. 

The General Assembly of parliament will gather at 2 p.m. with a special agenda and speeches will be delivered on behalf of all parties in parliament: The ruling Justice and Development Party (MHP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

At 7 p.m., Kahraman will host a reception in the parliament to mark the day. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 20 welcomed children from across the world in Ankara ahead of the day. 

“April 23 is a day for joy, enthusiasm, solidarity and sharing for our children and for all children of the world. However, again this year, in many parts of the world, tens of thousands of children have no opportunity to see April 23 ... I am sending our deepest sympathy to all those children who suffer from hunger and war in the world especially in Syria, Iraq and Somalia. Our hearts and prayers are with them,” Erdoğan said in his address to children at the Presidential Palace on April 20. 

As a part of nine-day festivities, over 400 children from 27 countries between the ages 9 to 13 came to Turkey on April 18. The children, who are all being hosted by a Turkish peer, participated in a number of activities in the Central Anatolian city of Nevşehir and they will put on a performance at the commemoration day on April 23 in Ankara.  

Erdoğan underlined the troubles of children affected by war. 

“Children should not be affected by wars, which are caused by the adults. They should not suffer from the mistakes of adults,” he said, adding that Turkey has undergone a work for aiding children who have suffered from war. 

“As Turkey, we have reacted against injustice and carry out works both in Turkey and overseas. We have embraced three million refugees, many of whom are children, from Syria and Iraq. There is no such example anywhere in the world,” Erdoğan stated.