National Sovereignty and Children’s Day

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Cocuk Bayrami) is a national holiday in Turkey, always celebrated on 23 April

National Sovereignty and Children's Day

The holiday commemorates the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at Ankara in 1920.

On 23 April 1920, during the War of Independence, the Grand National Assembly met in Ankara to begin to lay the foundations of the new Turkish republic after the end of the Ottoman Empire.

To mark the event, 23 April was proclaimed a national holiday in 1921.

The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dedicated 23 April to the children of Turkey to recognise that children are the future of the nation.

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Since 1927 it has also become Children’s Day. In 1979, UNICEF recognised this important national day as an international event.


To mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, Fethiye Belediye hold a special event in the main square, Beşkaza, in which FIG participates.

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Children, mostly from the villages, attend this event. FIG, other organisations and firms in the town pay individual school transportation costs.  They also supply gifts for the children. Around 5000 children are involved every year and it is often chaotic, but always hugely rewarding.