President Erdoğan’s Message on May 19 Youth and Sports Day

18.05.2017

Following is the message President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued on May 19 Youth and Sports Day:

We are today celebrating the 98th anniversary of the founder of our Republic Ghazi Mustafa Kemal’s arrival in Samsun to launch the War of Independence.

May 19 marks the first step our nation, which has never given up on its freedom and never succumbed to oppression and the oppressor, has taken in its fight for survival.

The torch of independence, lit under the Ghazi’s leadership in Samsun on May 19, 1919, was passed from hand to hand, mouth to mouth through Amasya, Sivas and Erzurum, spreading all across the homeland.

May 19, which heralded in the establishment of the Republic of Turkey and the liberation of the Turkish people, is a source of pride for our nation and a critical lesson for our youth.

Celebrating May 19, which marks one of the most crucial turning points in our history, is thus of vital importance.

We consider it to be of great importance that our youth, whom we see as the guarantee of our future, fully grasp, internalize and uphold the spirit of May 19.

We have been exerting strenuous efforts over the past 14 years so as to raise generations that have high self-confidence, national consciousness, strong character and good qualities. We have implemented many reforms up to now in order to clear the way before our youth and to better prepare them for the life and future.

The constitutional amendment approved in the April 16 referendum lowering the age for candidacy to 18 is the clearest manifestation of the importance we attach to the youth and of the trust we harbor for them. Form this date forward, the young are to enjoy a bigger representation and a bigger say both in the politics and state administration.

I am confident that our youth, fully grasping the deep meaning May 19 bears, will always protect this homeland, which was entrusted to them by our ancestors, and will uphold to the end the principles and attributes that make us, us.

I know that our youth, who give no credit to terror, violence and blind ideologies, will continue to read, research and question, believing in the power of the word and thought.

I would like to stress that we, the state, will always stand with the young during this tough journey of theirs and will provide them every support.

With these thoughts, I celebrate May 19 Youth and Sports Day, remember with respect all the heroes that have fought for our homeland, foremost among them Ghazi Mustafa Kemal and his comrades in arm, and offer our youth and august nation my heartfelt greetings.