National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey

Solemn ceremonies and children’s festivals take place throughout Turkey on National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, held on April 23 each year. Children take seats in the Turkish Parliament and symbolically govern the country for one day.
Image of young boy with Turkish flag painted on face and the inside of the Turkish Assembly building
Children actively take part in parliament on National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey.

What do people do ?

Many people in Turkey commemorate the first gathering of the Grand National Assembly (the Turkish Parliament), which took place on April 23, 1920, by attending local ceremonies or laying wreaths at monuments of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. The biggest ceremony takes place at the Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara.

Because Ataturk reportedly dedicated the Turkish Republic to children, Turkish schoolchildren take seats in the Parliament for the day and symbolically govern the country. They elect a president who then addresses the country on national television. Children’s festivals take place throughout the country. The state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) brings children, aged eight to 14, from different countries around the world to Turkey. These children stay with Turkish families for a week and participate in children’s festivals, which culminate is a gala-performance on April 23.

Public life

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is an official holiday in Turkey. Government offices, schools and most businesses are closed on this day. Public transport routes may vary in the event of street performances.

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