May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history, the day when the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul in 1919 to launch the war that transformed the nation into modern Turkey four years later.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, backdropped by a poster of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, speaks during a ceremony in Istanbul on Oct. 26, 2019.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, backdropped by a poster of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, speaks during a ceremony in Istanbul on Oct. 26, 2019. (AP)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan marked the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day on Tuesday by remembering the country’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and "heroes of War of Independence".

"I congratulate May 19 Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day of our youth and cherished nation, and I respectfully commemorate with respect all the heroes, first and foremost Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, of our War of Independence," Erdogan said on Twitter.

In a separate statement on Monday, Erdogan said: "May 19, the beginning of our march towards an independent and prosperous future, was the day when our august nation declared to the entire world that it would neither abandon its freedom nor go under the tutelage of anyone under any circumstances, and that it would unconditionally protect its free will."

May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history, the day when Mustafa Kemal arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul in 1919 to launch the war that transformed the nation into modern Turkey four years later.

Ataturk dedicated May 19 to the youth of Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day – a national holiday that sees young people stage sporting and cultural activities and official ceremonies organized across the nation.

This year, due to the pandemic, Turkey is celebrating May 19 with virtual events.

Turkey sings 'Milli Mars'

Erdogan called on Turkish citizens to sing the national anthem "Milli Mars" along from their balconies or windows at 19:19 pm [local time] which the time refers to May 19, 1919.

On Tuesday evening, he sang the anthem at the designated time with Turkish citizens.

Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan also celebrated the event on Twitter.

“I congratulate our nation 's May 19 Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, and I believe that our young people will carry our country to a bright future with the same national struggle,” she stated.

Separately, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu attended a ceremony to mark the occasion at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, in the capital Ankara.

Kasapoglu along with a delegation — in accordance with social distancing rules — laid a wreath on the mausoleum, observed a moment of silence and sang the national anthem.

'Actual start of national struggle'

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu released a statement to mark the day.

Humanity will set out on a new and more accurate path after the coronavirus pandemic, Soylu said.

"But we started on this path 101 years ago, and we are walking together on this path obstinately," he added.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca marked the occasion with a statement on Twitter, describing May 19, 1919 as the "actual start of the national struggle."

Meanwhile, a total of 210 bicycles — gifted by the president for children whose families registered under social assistance and solidarity foundations — were distributed in Istanbul.

Source: AA