As the commemoration of the 97th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Parliament with National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23 approaches, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has welcomed children from across the world in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
“April 23 is a day for joy, enthusiasm, solidarity and sharing for our children and for all children of the world. However, again this year, in many parts of the world, tens of thousands of children have no opportunity to see April 23 … I am sending our deepest sympathy to all those children who suffer from hunger and war in the world especially in Syria, Iraq and Somalia. Our hearts and prayers are with them,” Erdoğan said in an address to children in Ankara on April 20.
As a part of nine-day festivities, over 400 children from 27 countries between the ages 9 to 13 came to Turkey on April 18. The children, who are all being hosted by a Turkish peer, participated in a number of activities in the Central Anatolian city of Nevşehir and they will put on a performance at the commemoration day on April 23 in Ankara.
Receiving children at the Presidential Palace, Erdoğan underlined the troubles of children affected by war.
“Children should not be affected by wars, which are caused by the adults. They should not suffer from the mistakes of adults,” he said, adding that Turkey has undergone a work for aiding children who have suffered from war.
“As Turkey, we have reacted against injustice and carry out works both in Turkey and overseas. We have embraced three million refugees, many of whom are children, from Syria and Iraq. There is no such example anywhere in the world,” Erdoğan stated.
Turkey celebrates the establishment of the Turkish Parliament with National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23 every year, as it was bestowed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic at the opening ceremony of parliament.
Although Sovereignty Day is being marked for the 97th time this year, it was 1979 when the day started to be called “International Children’s Year” and the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Institution (TRT) started a festival called “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival.” In its first year, Turkey hosted children from SSCB, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, going on to host thousands of children from 150 different countries in 39 years of history.