Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

Atatürk’s children’s day

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Today is “National Sovereignty and Children’s Day” here in Turkey. Despite recent warnings about terrorism in tourist sites, downtown Kaleiçi, a popular historic district of Antalya, Turkey, was crowded all day with families of adorable children dressed in various costumes. Fireworks are visible tonight over the Mediterranean.

The holiday was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, widely known as the founder of modern Turkey, to celebrate children and remember that they are the future. Most families buy the kids some ice cream and a balloon, walk around the city, and let the children enjoy the day.

In the past, some lucky kids got to join the Turkish Parliament for a day. But this year President Erdoğan’s party, AKP, decided not to allow many government celebrations, with the official reason being fears of terrorism and respect for the gravity of the armed resistance in the Kurdish southeast. Many observers grumble that Erdoğan’s real reason for not allowing this day as a celebration for children is that he wants to try to reverse the legacy of Atatürk.

Either way, it’s been a joy to join in this celebration for the children of Turkey, a reminder that the world that we are in is ours only for the briefest time

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