World’s children enjoy April 23 nationwide
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Many children enjoyed the good weather across the country in an official holiday to mark the foundation of the Turkish Parliament. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZA series of events held yesterday to mark April 23, the National Sovereignty and Children’s Holiday, saw millions of students nationwide attending ceremonies and celebrations across the country.
Hundreds of events took place, some with the participation foreign children attending as guests, performing local dances and enjoying the day’s festivities. A group of Nigerian children performed in a Şanlıurfa event, and children from Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia joined their Turkish counterparts in Gaziantep. A group from Georgia performed local dances in Artvin, Anatolia news agency reported.
Syrian refugee children joined the celebrations in Kilis and staged performances. A giant piggy bank was placed in Kocaeli, in which children dropped toys to be shipped to Syrian children. Foreign children also attended the event, exhibiting their local toys, according to Anatolia news agency.
As the events differed from city to city, a race was organized in Kütahya, in which grandparents and grandchildren participated together. Adana’s football players visited young cancer patients in a local hospital in a move to cheer them on their special day.
Around 20.000 people gathered in southeastern Siirt to celebrate the national holiday by singing Turkish and Kurdish folk songs as part of celebrations. Officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were also present at the event.
Turkish flags, for the first time in many years, covered the windows of houses in Cizre, as business owners said the peace process allowed peace and trust to settle in the city, prompting the hanging of the flags, according to Doğan news agency.
BDP provincial heads in Şırnak, however, boycotted the celebrations, in addition to several other cities where party members protested against the events nationwide. A small group, joined by BDP youth leaders, staged a protest in Istanbul’s Taksim against the Turkish government. The group dispersed after making a statement, Doğan news agency reported.
A photo of Erdal Eren, a symbolic name of the coup era in Turkey, who was hanged at the age of 17 for allegedly murdering a military policeman, was placed over the stairs in Ankara’s Kızılay by unidentified demonstrators, daily Hürriyet reported.
The tradition of seating children at government posts also occurred on April 23, with a fifth-grade prime minister taking her seat. Nermin İrem Kocakalay, a young student from the southern province of Mersin, became prime minister for a few hours as part of the April 23 celebrations.
Premier sheds tear
Nermin, however, caused quite a stir when she burst into tears in the middle of her speech, while describing her dream in which she was a prime minister and had a magic wand, saying she was building parks for children and enabling them to find jobs.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was then questioned about the future of the tradition, and confirmed that the tradition of seating children at government posts on April 23 would continue in the future just as it had before.