Every year on April 23rd, Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is marked by an International Children’s Games Event held in Ankara. It is organized by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and the Youth Sports General Directorate.
Greece had requested as a prerequisite for its participation, that Turkey excludes the pseudo state of Turkish-Cypriots from the Children’s Event because its presence was made under the flag of the so called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which no country other than Turkey has yet recognized. Turkey rejected Greece’s request. Consequently, Greece decided to withdraw from this international event.
Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek was very critical and cynical towards this decision, maintaining that it is really unfair to get children; symbols of peace, friendship and brotherhood, involved in politics and defined Greece’s behavior as a blow against world peace. According to him, the long dispute between the two parts of Cyprus is unacceptable in an event of such nature. The mayor warned against raising children with prejudice and stressed that the city’s administration always strives to bring representatives from conflicting countries together, adding that there were children from Azerbaijan and Armenia, Israel and Palestine, among the more than 3,000 participants from 90 countries.
The event was kicked off by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday.