ADDS MORE REMARKS OF PRESIDENT ERDOGAN
By Sibel Morrow, Enes Kaplan, Aynur Ekiz and Ferdi Turkten
ANKARA/SAMSUN, Turkey (AA) - Ataturk defeated enemies on May 19, 1919 ignoring the mandate of the Allies, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.
"We will do the same now," he added, speaking at an event held in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
Turkey has always relied on its people and God in its independence struggle like Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic, did 100 years ago, he said.
"Every day we break a trap set for our country either inside or outside of the country and we renew our ambition for a stronger future.
"Despite deep suffering, the Turkish nation has never made the mistake of emulating its enemies," Erdogan said.
The president marked the start of a series of centenary events on Sunday that will run through Oct. 29, 2023, to coincide with Turkey's Republic Day.
"The vision of 2023, which expresses the most ambitious democratic and development goals in the history of the Republic, has always been our guide," Erdogan said.
The 2023 Vision sets specific targets for improvements in the areas of economic activity, energy, healthcare, education, and transport.
"In spite of everything, we are committed to our 2023 targets and follow it up strictly in all areas," Erdogan said, adding that they have established a special team for this purpose within the presidency.
May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history as it is the day when Mustafa Kemal, later to become Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, arrived in the city of Samsun from Istanbul to organize the war that saw the remnants of the Ottoman Empire transformed into modern Turkey four years later.
Ataturk dedicated May 19 to youth of Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday that sees young people stage sporting and cultural activities and official ceremonies organized across the nation.
Later in the day, addressing youth in an iftar (fast-breaking) event in the province, Erdogan said that if Turkey takes stance against injustice and unlawfulness anywhere in the world, it is a "common success" of the whole Turkish nation.
If Turkey supports the Palestinian cause, extends helping hand to Africa, embraces brothers in the Central Asia and Balkans, it is thanks to the economic and diplomatic success, he added.
He noted that when looking at its more than 2,200 years history, Turkey not only draws a lesson from it, but also takes courage for bigger challenges.
Stressing on the importance of knowing own history, Erdogan told youth that nations who are unaware or deny the history have a dark future.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev