There were colorful ceremonies at every school and at stadiums in all of the provinces across the country to mark the day. Ceremonies were also held at foreign representative offices. Early in the day, high-level state officials led by Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey.
The Turkish nation marked National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on Monday with celebrations held throughout Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). There were colorful ceremonies at every school and at stadiums in all of the provinces across the country to mark the day. Ceremonies were also held at foreign representative offices.
Early in the day, high-level state officials led by Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey.
Çiçek was accompanied by Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdağ, National Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız, Deputy Parliament Speaker Mehmet Sağlam and several other state ministers, as well as officials from various political parties, deputies and parliamentary personnel. Çiçek laid a wreath at Atatürk’s mausoleum, observed a minute of silence, sang the Turkish national anthem and signed the visitor’s book.
President Abdullah Gül received the children of dead soldiers, as well as veterans from the seven regions of Turkey, at the Çankaya presidential palace in Ankara, while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan greeted children at his official residence.
Erdoğan symbolically turned over his position to a primary school student, Enes Karabulut. Reporters directed questions to the symbolic prime minister on a wide range of issues.
When one of the reporters asked whether he will run in the presidential elections of 2014, Karabulut said: “I am the prime minister now. Ask this question to my predecessor. We would like to see him as president,” referring to Erdoğan.
Karabulut said his favorite ministers are Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, and he does not think any changes need to be made to the cabinet.
Parliament Speaker Çiçek received greetings and congratulatory messages from politicians in Parliament later in the day. “The first steps of independence, republic and democracy were taken on this day,” Çiçek said.
National Education Minister Ömer Dinçer attended ceremonies at 19 Mayıs Stadium in Ankara. Atatürk dedicated April 23 to the children of the country to emphasize that they were the future of the new nation. Since then, April 23 has been recognized as National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey.
Every year on this date, children from all over the world are invited to Turkey to join in the festivities in the hope that such celebrations will contribute to a future of enhanced brotherhood and peace among different nations. The president, prime minister, cabinet ministers and provincial governors all symbolically turn over their positions to children. Children also replace deputies in Parliament and hold a special session to discuss matters concerning children’s issues.