Turkey on Tuesday celebrated the national Teachers’ Day, which marks the day Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founder, was given the title of “Head Teacher” in 1928.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a message underscoring the significance of teachers for the society, and noted the country could only reach its goal of a strong society and a powerful Turkey through a qualified generation, and an authentic and domestic education policy.

Stressing the government will continue to support teachers first, Erdogan said: “We consider it our duty to strengthen the financial and social opportunities for our teachers, who are the pillars of our education system, and to provide them with a peaceful and safe working environment.”

Vice President Fuat Oktay also celebrated the day, tweeting: “I whole-heartedly congratulate our teachers, who are the architects of our future, who work devotedly all over our beautiful country.”

Oktay also commemorated the martyred teachers and said: “We did not forget, we will not forget. God bless their souls.”

National Education Minister Ziya Selcuk and 81 teachers from 81 provinces of Turkey in the morning visited Ataturk’s grand mausoleum complex in Ankara, Anitkabir, which also houses a museum.

Martyred teachers paid homage

Separately, teachers and students across the country organized various events such as marching in the streets, planting trees and visiting the cemeteries of teachers martyred by the PKK terrorist group.

On June 9, 22-year-old music teacher Senay Aybuke Yalcin was killed in a PKK attack as she was returning home from school in the Kozluk district of the southeastern Batman province. In Kozluk, an orchestra comprising 33 music teachers performed to commemorate the martyred teachers.

Another 23-year-old elementary school teacher fell victim to the PKK terror around the same time. Necmettin Yilmaz was kidnapped by a group of the PKK terrorists in Pulumur district of the eastern Tunceli province. His burnt-out vehicle was found on June 16, while his body was recovered almost a month later near the Pulumur Stream.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Meanwhile, students across the country showed their appreciation for teachers remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey resumed distance learning as of Nov. 20 until Jan. 4 next year, the country’s national education minister announced last week after the country’s decision to impose partial curfews.

Teachers’ Day has been celebrated every Nov. 24 since 1981.

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