Below is the message of President Abdullah Gül on the May 19th Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day
“My fellow citizens and our youth,
May 19th is one of the turning points in our history that changed our nation’s destiny and that symbolized the inception of hope for our people. Gaining the love and tribute of our nation, Atatürk arrived in the northern province of Samsun 93 years ago, thus initiating the National Struggle, one of the world’s most important independence wars in history.
It therefore bears a particular meaning that we celebrate today as the May 19th Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.
I wholeheartedly celebrate your festival!
We are very proud of our glorious history and successes of our forefathers. Such days remind us how great thesacrifices our nation made were and to what level we should carry this land we inherited from our ancestors.
Never relinquishing the resoluteness to live freely and independently throughout its history, our nation never accepted the conditions imposed upon it and proved this resoluteness once again with its National Struggle. May 19th, in this regard, is a symbol of our national awakening.
After the Independence War, initiated in Samsun and ending in Izmir, a modern and independent state arose on whose future every citizen has a say, which brought the sovereignty of the nation, which espoused the values of the modern world and which paved the way for the democratic development across the country.
The founding of the Turkish Republic was one of the most important events of the 20th century.
Turkey, after the declaration of the Republic, achieved great developments in all areas. I would like to reiterate that we owe the very qualities and capabilities of our nation to adapt to the changes in the world to these developments. I would also like to evince my pleasure at observing the continuation of the dynamism to develop our nation has achieved in all areas.
Turkey with its developing democracy, the reforms it has implemented in terms of human rights and freedoms and with its growing economy draws the attention of the whole world due to the proactive and constructive role it is playing in the face of challenges. Its weight in the international arena is increasingly being felt. Among the factors that elevated Turkey to the level it enjoys today are the values it has inherited from its deep-rooted history.
In this era when the balances of the world are changing very fast, one has to act as per its pace. The societies that cannot predict the direction of development and its speed are bound to lag behind. Turkey with all its institutions and robust vision for the future is progressing on its path.
The utmost objective of these efforts is to raise our democratic standards, enhance our nation’s prosperity and leave a better and brighter future to our children.
All the steps we have taken are toward building a bigger and stronger Turkey for them. Because our biggest treasure, power and hope are our children and youth. Those who will carry our country to the higher levels and make our nation proud of the country’s achievements are our youth.
The previous generations left a great legacy to you by displaying tireless efforts. I have no doubt that you as the resource of hope for our nation are well aware of this very fact.
You will play a key role in elevating our country and raising its standards to the level the modern civilizations are enjoying. Therefore, it is our priority to raise and educate you as per the modern world in the best way.
In today’s world where knowledge, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are the fundamental dynamics for development, it is impossible for people and countries to realize their aims by insisting on introverted policies. In this vein, you should open yourself to the world and make greater efforts than ever to understand the changes and adapt yourself to the conditions of the era.
You will achieve great successes and assume important responsibilities in the future. You should prepare yourself for such developments in the best way. It is of great importance that you create tolerance, allegiance to the democratic values and the respect for human rights, different cultures and ideas a way of life.
You should progress on your path by learning from the past and look to the future with self-confidence. Being successful depends on your efforts and hard work as well as on the opportunities and amenities you are provided with. You should always have big aims and never forego your goals.
I am sure that you will also display great efforts to leave a more developed and more prosperous country to the generations to come and that you will make every sacrifice for your country and nation.
One of the elements this festival reminds us is the importance of sports. You should always remember the affirmative contributions of sports to one’s personality and mental development.
I hereby remember august Atatürk and all our heroes and heroines of the Independence War with gratitude and tribute and I once again celebrate and I once again celebrate your May 19th Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.”