Turkey on Tuesday marked the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day by remembering Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and “heroes of War of Independence”.
“I congratulate May 19 Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day of our youth and cherished nation, and I respectfully commemorate with respect all the heroes, first and foremost Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, of our War of Independence,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.
Erdogan, along with the tweet, also shared a photograph of Ataturk and citizens with the Turkish flag in the background.
In a separate statement on Monday, Erdogan said: “May 19, the beginning of our march towards an independent and prosperous future, was the day when our august nation declared to the entire world that it would neither abandon its freedom nor go under the tutelage of anyone under any circumstances, and that it would unconditionally protect its free will.”
Separately, Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu attended a ceremony to mark the occasion at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk in the capital Ankara.
Kasapoglu along with a delegation — all in accord with social distancing rules — laid a wreath on the mausoleum, stood in a moment of silence, and sang the national anthem.
Meanwhile, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu released a statement to mark the day.
The humanity will set out on a new and more accurate path after the pandemic, Soylu said.
“But we started this path 101 years ago and we are walking together on this path obstinately,” he added.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca marked the occasion with a statement on Twitter, describing May 19, 1919 as the “actual start of the National Struggle.”
May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history, the day when Mustafa Kemal arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul in 1919 to launch the war that transformed the nation into modern Turkey four years later.
Ataturk dedicated May 19 to the youth of the Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day — a national holiday that sees young people stage sporting and cultural activities and official ceremonies organized across the nation.
This year, due to the pandemic, Turkey is celebrating May 19 with virtual events.
On Monday, Erdogan said stadiums across Turkey will be lighted at 07.19 p.m. local time (1619GMT) and the Turkish national anthem will be broadcasted to mark the occasion and called on Turkish citizens to sing along the national anthem from their balconies or windows.
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