Every year on April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) is celebrated and is a national holiday.

Unfortunately this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the curfew they have been curtailed.

This year the government are going to hold an on-line concert where musicians will perform live to “send a message of solidarity and unity to the whole world” which marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Here in Kusadasi you would normally find events taking place down at the sea front and at the stadium. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Turkish parliament and people will hang flags from their balconies and there will be various events for the children to partake in online.

How this day is usually celebrated

This day commemorates the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at Ankara in 1920 when the nation’s parliament began to lay the foundations of the new Turkish Republic after the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Since 1927 it has also become Children’s Day, when the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dedicated this day to the children of Turkey to recognise that the children are the future of the nation.

In 1979, UNICEF recognized National Sovereignty and Children’s Day as an international event. In the years since 1979, Turkey has hosted thousands of children from 150 different countries on Children’s Day.

You will see the Turkish flag hanging proudly everywhere and school children will participate in week-long ceremonies marked by singing and dancing performances in sports fields across Turkey, culminating with a large performance in the national soccer stadium in Istanbul. Children also receive toys and sweets as gifts from their parents.

Children would also take over the government of Turkey for the day. In a tradition that was started by Ataturk in 1933, children replace the normal members of the Grand National Assembly and hold a special session to discuss children’s issues and even sign executive orders relating to educational or environmental policies.

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