The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, arrived in Samsun on May 19, 1919, to run an uprising against the decision of the World War I allies to divide the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire. Turkey accepts the date of Atatürk’s arrival in Samsun as the starting date of the Turkish War of Independence. Following Atatürk’s wish, the Turkish government declared May 19 to be Youth and Sports Day and made it an official holiday in the year of 1938. The day received its present name, the “Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day”, in 1981, which had been the 100th anniversary of Atatürk’s birth.


May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history as it is the day when Ataturk arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul to organize the war that saw the remnants of the Ottoman Empire transformed into modern Turkey four years later. May 19 is the day of awakening of the national will and the spirit of unity.


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