Turkey on Sunday celebrated the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, which marks beginning of the country’s War of Independence and the emergence of modern Turkey.
May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history as it is the day when Mustafa Kemal, later to become Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul to organize the war that saw the remnants of the Ottoman Empire transformed into modern Turkey four years later.
Ataturk dedicated May 19 to youth of 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.
Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu laid a wreath at Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum overlooking the capital Ankara.
Massive celebrations are planned in Samsun, which will see the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a number of high-ranking officials.
The Turkish national day will also be celebrated throughout Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and all foreign representations.
Erdogan issued a message on the occasion in which he described the day as "the resurrection of [Turkish] nation."
"May 19 is the day when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk started our national struggle [against the allied powers] upon his arrival in Samsun 100 years ago. May 19 is the day of awakening of the national will, the spirit of unity and the strength of a strong faith to repel the occupation forces from our lands. May 19 is the resurrection of this [Turkish] nation," Erdogan said in his message addressing the Turkish youth.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also issued a message on Twitter celebrating the national day.
"On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the national struggle, we are striving to move our [Turkish] Republic to the level of contemporary civilization with the same belief and determination as on the first day," Cavusoglu said.
Throughout Turkey sports activities and official ceremonies are being held.
In Samsun, internationally renowned Turkish diver Sahika Ercumen dived from the point where Ataturk had first stepped in to start the Independence War.
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