The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day celebrations scheduled to be held in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş
district on May 19 have been banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office, Beşiktaş
Mayor Murat Hazinedar has said, while Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin said he did not have any information on the issue.
In a statement released on Twitter on May 16, Hazinedar said the annual four-day “Youth Festival” was canceled for several reasons, including “the possibility of provocative actions and incidents taking place.”
“Today we are experiencing deep sadness because as we were preparing to celebrate the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, which is one of the most magnificent festivals of our Republic, we faced prevention that Beşiktaş
and the people of Beşiktaş
don’t deserve at all,” Hazinedar said, adding that the governor’s office cited “conditions that the country is in” as a reason for the ban.
“It was conveyed to us that the event was banned due to the conditions that the country is in, the possibility of the emergence of provocative acts and incidents, which can cause panic in the society, and the disruption of public security and order,” he said.
The day, which symbolizes the start of Turkey’s War of Independence when the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, set foot in the Black Sea
province of Samsun to initiate the struggle on May 19, 1919, is celebrated across the country with events organized for the youth.
Saying that many events were carried out safe and sound recently in Istanbul, Hazinedar noted that the governor’s office adopted a different attitude when the event was to mark the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Beşiktaş.
“As the Beşiktaş
mayor I would like to stress that May 19, 1919, carries major significance for the Beşiktaş
district,” he said.
He said Beşiktaş
was where Atatürk
and his comrades in arms took the first step before launching their struggle in Samsun, adding that the residents of Beşiktaş
and Istanbul see the day as “the rebirth of Beşiktaş.”
“These preventions will not lessen the love the residents of Beşiktaş
have for the Republic and Atatürk, on the contrary, they will lead the people to own up to these more enthusiastically,” he said.
Asked about the cancelation later in the day, Şahin said he was uniformed about it.
“I don’t have any information now. I don’t know what the journalists are talking about,” he said.
“We adopt decisions regarding these events in a committee and implement those. There is nothing that we canceled as a committee. I don’t know what you are talking about, but we’ll look into it,” he added.