ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has neither the chance nor the right to turn its back on its region or the world at large, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
The president’s remarks came during a reception held Thursday at the presidential complex in capital Ankara where he hosted a group of youth in honor of Turkey’s May 19 Youth and Sports Day.
Noting that the process that began on May 19, 1919 led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Erdogan said that the country’s fight for its independence and its future had not ended, and would continue.
“Even when we look back on the 93 years of our history of the republic, we can see that our struggle for independence kept going under different names.
“The events that are happening in the Balkans, Caucasus, north and south are all closely related to our past and present.
“Who can say, claim or imagine that the things happening in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East have nothing to do with us?
“Or the developments in Libya and North Africa? Or in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Aegean?” Erdogan added.
“You can expand this circle as much as you like from South Asia to eastern Europe. We have neither the chance nor the right to turn our back on our region and the world. Since we have such big responsibilities, our duties are that much heavier,” he said.
May 19 Youth and Sports Day marks the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence, and the emergence of modern Turkey, which is celebrated through official ceremonies across the nation.
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.