Turkish president issues Youth and Sports Day message

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    The Turkish president released a message on Friday to mark May 19 Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.

    "The independence torch lit in Samsun has been a herald for independence for our [country] and that unique struggle in unity and solidarity with determination, courage and faith has been crowned with the foundation of our republic," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

    May 19 Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday, marks the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence, and the emergence of modern Turkey, which is celebrated through official ceremonies across the nation.

    Erdogan said the Turkish nation's struggle for independence has been an example to other nations struggling to gain their independence.

    Erdogan pointed to the latest change in the Turkish constitution, in which the age to be elected as lawmaker was reduced to 18 and said that shows the trust put in Turkish youths to govern the Turkish state.

    "We are pleased to see that our young people still have the will, determination and the faith that led our war of independence to victory," Erdogan said.

    "We believe that our young people, whom we have supported with all our means, will protect this country in the best possible way and protect our independence and future at the cost of their life,” Erdogan added.

    May 19, 1919, was the day Mustafa Kemal, later to become Mustafa Kemal 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.

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