This national day (23 April National Sovereignty and Childrens Day) in Turkey is a unique event. Following Turkey’s War of Independence in the early 1920s, Turkish Republic declared independency to the world and the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,dedicated April 23 to the children of the countryto emphasize that they are the future of the new nation.
• Every year, the children in Turkey celebrate this "Sovereignty and Childrens Day" as a national holiday. Schools participate in week- long ceremonies marked by performances in all fields in large stadiums watched by the entire nation. Among the activities on this day, the children send their representatives to replace state officials and high ranking bureaucrats in their offices.
• The President, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Ministers, provincial governors all turn over their positions to childrens representatives. These children, in turn, sign executive orders relating to educational and environmental policies
• On this day, the children also replace the parliamentarians in the Grand National Assembly and hold a special session to discuss matters concerning childrens issues.
• On April 23rd People from many countries from all countries all over the world and people from different countries give each other gifts. The United Nations participate and many people consider this a day of peace. Everybody wears their best clothes and shoes. The people who come celebrate and even do performances such as: national anthems, folk dances and many other things that are related to their countries.
• There is no school so children enjoy the day by celebrating by going to certain places.• Elementary schools across the country are decorated and illuminated. Children put on special uniforms to mark the day. Various national level competitions are organized, such as dancing, sports, singing, arts and crafts, and so on. Most of these events are held by the municipality of each city and district that take place in big areas, such as stadiums for the entire nation to witness.
In 1979 on the United Nation’s Year of the Child, theTurkish government declared April 23rd as a holiday for all children of the world. The same year, the country also made efforts to invite kids from other countries for participating in the national Children’s Day festivities. Hundreds of children from over 40 countries parade in the streets in their national traditional dresses and perform native dances. This provides an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange for all the participants.