Turkey on Friday celebrated the national Teachers' Day, which marks the day Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Republic's founder, was given the title of 'Head Teacher' in 1928. An occasion to remember and respect teachers, it is traditionally marked by students giving gifts to teachers. It is also an occasion where feats of devoted teachers fell victim to terrorism and are remembered.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who hosted a number of teachers at the presidential palace on Friday, issued a message emphasizing the importance of teachers in a society. "Societies that fail to give teachers the value they deserve and fail to show the necessary sincerity in the face of their devotion will have no future," he said.
National Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz and 81 teachers from 81 provinces of Turkey visited in the morning Atatürk's grand mausoleum complex in Ankara, Anıtkabir, which also houses a museum.
The Directorate of National Education in Istanbul organized a ceremony in Taksim Square.
General Command of Gendarmerie posted a video on its official Twitter account to celebrate the day and to commemorate teachers killed by the PKK terrorist organization.
"Teachers! The new generation will be your masterpiece," the Gendarmerie said in a message citing Ataturk's well-known quote.
More than 140 teachers, mostly elementary school teachers working in very difficult conditions in villages located in Turkey's poorest regions, were killed by the terrorist group since 1987. 1993 was marked as the year with most casualties since 43 teachers were killed by the PKK as part of its strategy to eradicate state authority in eastern and southeastern regions.
On June 9, 22-year-old music teacher Şenay Aybüke Yalçın was killed in a PKK attack as she was returning home from school in the Kozluk district of the southeastern province of Batman.
Another 23-year-old elementary school teacher also became victim to a PKK attack around the same time. Necmettin Yılmaz was kidnapped by a group of PKK terrorists in Pülümür district of the eastern province of Tunceli.
His burnt-out vehicle was found on June 16. His body was recovered almost a month later near the Pülümür Stream.
Both attacks sparked widespread condemnation of PKK from all political parties, groups and organizations.
Teachers' Day has been celebrated every Nov. 24 since 1981.