Turkey's May 19 celebrations curbed by ministry

Turkey's May 19 celebrations curbed by ministry

ANKARA - Doğan News Agency
Turkeys May 19 celebrations curbed by ministry


The ministry cautioned schools to stay within the guidelines of regulations and avoid celebrations in stadiums.

The Education Ministry has instructed schools to celebrate May 19, marked as Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, only at school grounds in provinces outside Ankara.

The circular, sent to 81 provincial education directorates, said cold weather in the months leading up to the holiday causes students to become sick as they rehearse for the shows, distracts them from classes and creates problems between schools and parents whose children are reluctant to take part in the events.

The aim of the regulation was to lift the burden over the students that stems from “additional or traditional celebrations,” Salih Çelik, the deputy undersecretary of the Education Ministry, was quoted as saying yesterday by the Anatolia news agency.

The elaborate celebrations are traditionally held in stadiums where hundreds of spectators watch students perform. Critics have said the events resemble celebrations in authoritarian countries.

The move attracted criticism from the Eğitim-Sen teachers’ trade union. Mehmet Dalgıç, the union’s chairman in Zonguldak, charged the government with seeking to erode Turkey’s secular traditions and making the education system “backward.”