National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is commemorated on April 23 across Turkey and the Turkish-affiliated areas of Northern Cyprus. The public holiday honors the anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Legislature. Public officials mark the day by turning over their duties to the elected representatives of children, who are allowed to attend meetings and take decisions regarding crucial social and cultural issues of the country.
History of National Sovereignty and Children's Day
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is celebrated across Turkey. Week-long ceremonies are marked across schools and public institutions, and the entire nation participates in activities. The day was established to emphasize the involvement of children in our democracy, as they are the natural successors of the world and the ones who will be handling the operations in the coming decades.
In a fun and intentional swap, local representatives step away from their duties for a day and let children of the community run the show for 24 hours. In an effort to make this holiday a global event, Turkish government officials invite children from all around the world to be a part of the exchange program. The holiday often revolves around a theme, some of which in the past have been “Children’s right to play” and “We play together.”
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day celebrates Turkish democracy and the resilience of people who withered through the tumultuous decades of autocratic suppression. Turkey celebrates the day by honoring its people and reimagining a future in which children are treated with as much agency as adults. Since 1921, the day has also been celebrated as National Sovereignty Day to honor the establishment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which was the nation’s first step towards becoming a representative republic.
National Sovereignty and Children's Day timeline
Turkey accepts its first constitution based on a democratic system of governance.
National Sovereignty Day is celebrated across the nation, along with a special day dedicated to children.
The holiday is officially renamed National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation organizes a children’s festival to honor the day.
National Sovereignty and Children's Day FAQs
Is Turkey a democratic nation?
Turkey is a secular constitutional republic with a representative presidency, elected from a pluriform multi-party system.
When is the best time to visit Turkey?
The months between September to November and March to May make for the best times to visit Turkey.
When did Turkey start celebrating Children's Day?
Turkey became the first country to celebrate Children’s Day in 1929.
How to Observe National Sovereignty and Children's Day
Give a voice to children
Although children are the future, the adults in the room seldom consider their perspective. Most governments of the world are geriatric, and almost all world leaders are over the age of 65. This creates a discrepancy in priorities and execution of the public will. On National Sovereignty and Children's Day, pass the mic and give kids a chance. We need new ideas and creativity, and children are the perfect sources of those.
Read about Turkey’s history
The Republic of Turkey has evolved from the Ottoman Empire. Its rich history includes the Byzantine period, which saw the consolidation of the present-day Turkish territory.
Celebrate Turkish sovereignty
The Turkish constitution enshrines sovereignty, which ultimately belongs to the people. April 23 marks the anniversary of the inauguration of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, which is considered the foundation of the Turkish republic.
5 Enticing Facts About Turkey
It’s the best of both worlds
Turkey’s culture takes from European and Asian cultures due to its unique geographical placement.
The tea heads of Turkey
96% of the Turkish population are avid consumers of tea, which is served in traditional tulip-shaped glasses.
The myth of Santa
Saint Nicholas, the inspiration behind Santa Claus, was born in Patara, Turkey.
A home to many cultures
Turkey is the birthplace of more than 30 ethnic languages and dialects.
The land of superstitions
The evil eye, which is a trinket to ward off negative energy from jealous and envious onlookers, is the most common gift in Turkish culture.
Why National Sovereignty and Children's Day is Important
It’s a celebration of democracy
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day celebrates the cause of democracy and honors the struggle that goes into achieving and preserving it. It is important for everyone to have a voice and to make sure that power does not rest in only one person or group’s hands.
It’s a rare democracy
Turkey stands out from the rest of the Islamic-majority nations due to its secular constitution and mixed economy. Millions of Turkish citizens live in harmony under a multi-party electorate formed by representative democracy.
It honors the non-violent approach to the revolution
Turkey’s bloodless coup set an example for an entire world to see. It also sent a stern warning to authoritarians around the world who suppress people’s will.
National Sovereignty and Children's Day dates