People at 9 p.m. took up their places at the windows and balconies of their homes to sing the national anthem, the Istiklal Marsi (March of Freedom), while waving the Turkish flag.
Every year 23 April is celebrated with solemn ceremonies nationwide with children performing in the country’s stadiums and streets, but this year home was the focus of celebrations due to the threat from gatherings under coronavirus.
Sound and light shows were also done in city centers along with firework displays.
Turkey every year commemorates the first gathering of the Turkish Grand National Assembly which took place in 1920 by attending ceremonies and visiting Anıtkabir, the mausoleum in the capital Ankara of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s, the nation’s founder.
Turkish children take seats in parliament symbolically every year after it was dedicated by Atatürk.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also addressed the nation on television with children alongside him and sang the anthem.
“When our homeland was occupied, our Grand National Assembly, which opened a century ago in Ankara, became the center of our nation’s and the state’s struggle for freedom,” Erdoğan said in a video message from his current residence at Huber Mansion in Istanbul.
He also commemorated the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and all the martyrs of the country, saying: “The Republic of Turkey was built on the concepts of unity, solidarity, brotherhood, and solidarity.”
“The late Mehmet Akif Ersoy wrote our national anthem not with his pen, but with the rapture that came out of every part of his heart,” Erdoğan added.
Our national anthem not only describes our fight for freedom a century ago, but it also expresses the spirit we need today and, in the future, he said, urging the nation to sing the anthem from the balconies and windows of their houses.
He also marked the day as a sign of the value the Turkish nation places on its children and their trust in the youth.
“As a nation, we see our children as our most valuable assets in the world, just like our independence, and we keep them on hand,” he said.
Touching on the coronavirus pandemic, he said in Turkey the fight against the pandemic has been waged with characteristic “determination, faith and hope”.
“We believe that we will overcome this disaster with the permission and grace of Allah, the discretion and concentration of our esteemed nation,” he added.
Erdoğan hails beginning of holy month of Ramadan
He also celebrated the beginning of Muslims’ holy fasting month of Ramadan, which starts this evening in Turkey.
He wished the best for the Turkish nation, the Islamic world, and all of humanity.
“I welcome the Ramadan-i-Sharif of our nation and the entire Islamic world, as we will perform the first Tarawih prayer tonight and hold its first fast,” he said.
He said he hoped Allah would bless the holy month with health, peace, and well-being.
Hurriyet Daily News