Today, May 19th, Turkey marked the centenary of Independence Day, which marks the beginning of Turkey's War of Independence and the emergence of modern Turkey, in a series of events and celebrations across the country.
May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history as it is the day when Mustafa Kemal, later to become Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul exactly one hundred years ago to organise the war of independence which resulted in the remnants of the Ottoman Empire being transformed into a modern Turkey four years later. Atatürk dedicated May 19th to the youth of the Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday when young people stage sporting and cultural activities with official ceremonies across the nation.
A large official celebration took place in the Black Sea province of Samsun, with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, National Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli and a number of high-ranking government officials. The celebration began with events at Tütün Pier where Atatürk set foot after his journey in 1919. In a ceremonial journey, the Piri Reis University Training Ship also arrived in Samsun after leaving Istanbul on Thursday, following Atatürk's route on the way to Samsun.