Turkish Embassy Marks National Children’s Day in Homeland with Local International Children’s Festival

April 23rd is National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey. And to mark the occasion locally, the Turkish Embassy hosted an International Children’s Festival Saturday at Hardy Middle School in Northwest DC. Dance groups representing Turkey, Bolivia (Ballet Bolivia En Mi Corazon), Sri Lanka and Bangladesh performed on stage in front of a full house. They were followed by a magic act by Merman the Magician.  

It was on this day in 1920, during the War of Independence, that a new parliament representing national sovereignty gathered in Ankara for the first time under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. With the forming of The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, an independent, secular and modern republic of Turkey emerged from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Atatürk, who founded the Turkish Republic, believed children were the future of the nation and dedicated April 23 to children from all around the world. The year was 1929. Turkey became the first country worldwide to celebrate a national holiday devoted to children.

“Thanks to this festival, each year we feel the pleasure of sharing messages of tolerance, love, friendship and peace to the whole world,” stated Ebru Aydogan, Second Secretary at the Embassy, during opening remarks. “We are happy to be here with children from different countries and of various nationalities standing and playing hand in hand and heart to heart with Turkish children.”

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