April 23 – Children’s Festival and the Establishment of the Turkish Parliament
Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. The allies had shut down the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul and forced the last Ottoman King to sign the Sevres treaty, which would mean the land we know was Turkey today was to be shared between 7 countries. However, another parliament was formed under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on April 23, 1920. With the establishment of the Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Turkish nation refused the invasion and proclaimed sovereignty one more time.
After the National Independence war, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who later became the first president of Turkish Republic, decided on 23 April 1924 to celebrate ’23rd April’ as a holiday. Five years later, on April 23, 1929, Ataturk presented this feast to children and celebrated for the first time on April 23, 1929 as Children’s Festival. In 1979, Republic of Turkey, took this national holiday to an international level with the participation of the children from other countries.
Ataturk gifted this special day as a gift to children as he saw them as the future of the nation.
“The whole world must know that there is no force at the head of this state and this nation. There is one force alone; that is the sovereignty of people. There is only one authority; it is the heart, conscience and presence of the people.”