Turkey cancels Atatürk commemoration ceremonies in stadiums
Turkish Education Ministry has warned schools across Turkey against organizing celebrations of May 19, the anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence, marked as the day Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landed in Samsun in 1919, claiming that students are being negatively affected by the ceremonies, Today's Zaman reported.
High school students, who are practicing for days, parade in perfect order in military formations in stadiums across Turkey and perform athletic routines with different colors in Atatürk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day.
The Education Ministry told schools that the May 19 celebrations will only be limited to schools, citing disruptions in education and claiming that motivation of students are negatively affected.
The letter the Education Ministry submitted to schools said the celebrations cause health problems because of the cold weather and parents of students who did not voluntarily attend the ceremonies are complaining.
On May 19, 1919, Atatürk, who would become modern Turkey's first president, landed on the main peninsula of Turkey lead the liberation effort. In early 1920, Atatürk convened the first Turkish Grand National Assembly (Parliament) in Ankara and by 1922 all of Anatolia was freed from foreign rule. The independent Republic of Turkey was declared a year later.
During the course of his term as president, Atatürk himself proclaimed May 19 "Youth and Sports Day." In the aftermath of Atatürk's monumental legacy, the day serves to honor the country's founder as well.