May 19 is the glorious story of the fire of independence ignited by our Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk 102 years ago.
The fight for independence he started in Samsun on May 19, 1919 was also the first step of having an independent and free country. This step and the victory followed thereafter turned into a holiday celebrated proudly by Turkish nation of all ages.
Presented to the young people who will carry the new and strong Republic of Turkey founded after the War of Independence to the future, this day has a special meaning. Highlighting sports, ethical values, being hardworking and determined and having a sense of responsibility, and drawing the ideal profile of new generation, this special date is, indeed, worth to be celebrated with enthusiasm.
Celebrated with enthusiasm in the Republic of Turkey and TRNC, May 19, Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Holiday, has a story full of glory, as every national holiday does. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk reached Samsun on May 19, 1919 by Bandirma Ferry, and this date is accepted as the day the War of Independence started.
May 19 was first celebrated in Samsun in 1926 as Veteran's Day, and it has officially become Day of Atatürk on May 24, 1935. The first May 19 was celebrated in Fenerbahce Stadium through the initiative taken by Besiktas Sports Club, and it became a sports festival with the participation of many athletes from Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. The suggestion that this enthusiasm should not be limited with the football field, but should be dedicated to all Turkish youth was offered and this suggestion was accepted at the congress. The suggestion became a law upon approval of Atatürk, and was celebrated as the "Youth and Sports Day" in accordance with the law enacted on June 20, 1938. Its name was changed to the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Holiday after the coup on September 12.
Once turned into a sports festival with the rhythmic and aesthetic choreographies of young people in stadiums, this special day continues to be celebrated with enthusiasm as a day that raises the national awareness of Turkish youth and reinforces the feelings of national unity and solidarity.
We commemorate Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who started the War of Independence and ended it with victory, as well as his brothers in arms, and our esteemed martyrs who sacrificed their lives without hesitation, with mercy, respect and gratitude.
We wish happy May 19, the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Holiday for whole nation!