Turkey on Tuesday celebrated national Teachers' Day, which marks the day Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founder, was given the title of "Head Teacher" in 1928.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message underscoring the significance of teachers for society and noted the country could only reach its goal of a strong society and a powerful Turkey through a qualified generation and an authentic and domestic education policy.
Stressing that the government will continue to support teachers first, Erdoğan said: "We consider it our duty to strengthen the financial and social opportunities for our teachers, who are the pillars of our education system, and to provide them with a peaceful and safe working environment." Vice President Fuat Oktay also celebrated the day, tweeting: "I whole-heartedly congratulate our teachers, who are the architects of our future, who work devotedly all over our beautiful country."
Oktay also commemorated the teachers killed in terror attacks and said: "We did not forget, we will not forget. God bless their souls."
National Education Minister Ziya Selçuk and 81 teachers from 81 provinces of Turkey in the morning visited Anıtkabir, Atatürk's grand mausoleum complex in Ankara.
Separately, teachers and students across the country organized various events such as marching in the streets, planting trees and visiting the cemeteries of teachers killed by the PKK terrorist group. The latest victims of PKK attacks were Şenay Aybüke Yalçın and Necmettin Yılmaz. On June 9, 2017, 22-year-old music teacher Yalçın was killed in a PKK attack as she was returning home from school in the Kozluk district of southeastern Batman province. In Kozluk, an orchestra comprising of 33 music teachers performed to commemorate the late teacher. Another 23-year-old elementary school teacher fell victim to the PKK terrorist group around the same time. Necmettin Yılmaz was kidnapped by a group of PKK terrorists in the district of Pülümür in the eastern Tunceli province. His burnt-out vehicle was found on June 16, while his body was recovered almost a month later near the Pülümür Stream.
Meanwhile, students across the country showed their appreciation for teachers remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Turkey will resume distance learning from Nov. 20 until Jan. 4 next year, the national education minister announced last week after the country's decision to impose partial curfews.
Teachers' Day has been celebrated every Nov. 24 since 1981.
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