Several high-ranking government officials and politicians, including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chiarman Devlet Bahceli, deputies of prime minister, Cabinet members and parliamentarians visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
In remarks written at the mausoleum's memorial book, Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydin said: “Our nation made great history by carrying out a unique fight under your [Ataturk] leadership against the imperialist occupation…Turkish Grand National Assembly will continue to work with solidarity to secure a better tomorrow for the nation.”
The special day in Turkey is marked by a festival for children; public offices, schools and private sector also organize several programs.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed children to the presidential palace and attended a special event to mark the occasion.
"We will continue to work together for a more beautiful, more peaceful, more loving world. In a world where children are not happy, something is absolutely going wrong," Erdogan said in his address to the children at the event.
"It is our duty to identify the problem, express it and do our best to correct it. This is the inheritance of our elders and our ancestors and the inheritance we will leave for you," he said.
He advised the children to focus on learning. "You should never forget these four words: learn, think, implement and then conclude," he said.
About the 97th anniversary of the foundation of parliament, he said: "I commemorate the father of our Republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal, the ones who started and led our War of Independence and all the members of our first parliament.
“I remember and honor the heroes of our War of Independence, the martyrs and veterans of the war against terrorism and the July 15 [defeated coup]," he said.
Yildirim also held a symbolic Cabinet meeting with the children at the Cankaya Palace.
Education Minister Nabi Avci along with teachers and students also paid a visit to the mausoleum.
In his message to mark the day, opposition party leader Kilicdaroglu tweeted that it is apt that children were celebrating sovereignty gained after a huge resistance. “The future is in your [children] hands, happy festival to you,” he added.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in his message said Turkey had become a hope for the oppressed people from Somalia to Myanmar, from Palestine to Syria.
Soylu said the country had supported 1,541,387 foreign children under different projects.
Turkish missions and Turkish expats also organized several activities to mark the day.
The April 23 celebrations focus on children after Ataturk, the first speaker of the parliament, dedicated the day to children as the nation’s future.
The Grand National Assembly met for the first time in Ankara in 1920 during the War of Independence to lay the foundations for an independent, secular and modern republic.