Turkish president meets youth leaders, sportspersons

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    The Turkish president met sportspersons and youth representatives on Saturday in the presidential complex to mark Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Our expectations from our youth is to be the best in any field they opt for."

    Erdogan said they had walked together with the youth against tanks, artilleries, fighter jets and gun tubes during a defeated coup attempt in July 2016.

    "You marched and those who turned against you gave up in 16 hours," he said.

    Orchestrated by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen, the July 15 coup attempt left 250 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

    Erdogan said they had opened the way for the youth by decreasing the minimum age of candidacy to become lawmaker from 25 to 18.

    Regarding the upcoming elections, he said the ruling party would nominate youths, aged between 20 and 22, to contest for a seat in the parliament.

    "Turkey's most important power is its young and qualified population," he added.

    This April, the parliament passed a bill for early elections, cementing Turkey’s move to a presidential system.

    In the April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

    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.

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