19 May: Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day

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Day of Independence, May 19

We celebrate 19 May, the date when Turkish Republic’s independence struggle started, with great enthusiasm and commemorate our great leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk with gratitude. We endeavor hard with our young generations to eternally protect our country’s independence.

History of Youth and Sports Day

19 May is in Turkey an important day. On this day in 1919, Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) arrived in Samsun which marks the beginning of the War of Independence. Therefore, Turks celebrate this day every year as Ataturk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day.

To explain the importance of 19 May in Turkey, we’ll have to start with the War of Independence. This war was meant to free Turkey from the foreign powers occupying the country after the Great War. It was Mustafa Kemal who led the Turks to independence and after the victory, on 29th October 1923, he declared the Republic of Turkey.
He was elected as the first president of the republic and began the radical transformation to modernise the country. For his accomplishments he received in 1934 the honorary title Ataturk, which means Father of Turks.

Because at the time Ataturk was born – in 1881 – often the exact birth dates and months were not kept. Ataturk himself once said: ‘I was born on May 19’. This day is therefore also seen as the birthday of Ataturk. Ataturk always saw the children as the Future of the Republic. As a present to them, he dedicated his birthday -19 May- to the ‘Youth and Sports’.

How is Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day celebrated?

To mark the day, children play sports, march in parades and sing and dance. At Samsun, the Turkish flag is brought ashore to remember the events of that day and a wreath is laid at the Mausoleum of Atatürk.

We wish happy May 19, the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Holiday for whole nation!

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