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Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day 2023

The holiday celebrates the beginning of the Turkish Republic and its future, embodied by the country's lively energetic youth

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The name of the holiday speaks for itself—it is dedicated to the country's youth, promotes sports, and also gives credit to the founder of the Turkish Republic—Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Considered an official state holiday, it commemorates the arrival of Ataturk to Samsun, which took place on the 19th of May in 1919, when the Ottoman Empire was lying in ashes and already being taken over by the soldiers of Entente.

As a former member of the Ottoman army, Ataturk succeeded in rallying the Turks for the national liberation movement, and thus began the war for Independence. As he believed the future of Turkey lay in the country's youth, the commemoration day is also dedicated to the youth and celebrated mainly via numerous sporting events, so this day is often referred to as a sports festival.

The best place to enjoy the authentic spirit of May 19 is Samsun due to its historical importance. In particular, make sure to check out the museum of SS Bandırma, the replica of the ship Atatürk sailed to the city. Besides Samsun, the capital city of Ankara and colorful Istanbul also host numerous celebrations on the Youth and Sports Day.

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