TRT International April 23 Children's Festival

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April 23 2011 Children's Festival
2007 in Germany

TRT International April 23 Children's Festival is celebrated on April 23 each year in Turkey. This festival is gathering the children from all over the world under the motto of "Love, Friendship and Peace". The festival is organized by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.


Macedonian folk dance on Children's Day 2014 in Beykoz, Istanbul
Folk dance of Turkey on Children's Day 2014 in Beykoz, Istanbul

The 23rd April Children’s Festival was dedicated to Turkish children by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, to mark the opening of the Assembly.

The festival has been celebrated internationally since 1979. The Children’s Festival was first celebrated in Turkey on 23 April 1920, when the Turkish Grand National Assembly was opened. The Festival intends to contribute creation of a world where children can live peacefully by developing sentiments of fraternity, love and friendship.

The greatest aspiration of Atatürk, who saved his country from occupations and introduced reforms in all fields hence changing the viewpoint of the nation it was modernization, in other words, an industrialized country that the industry of the Republic which it was founded on was out of date and poorly equipped, Atatürk endeavored to achieve modernization through educational reform, and thus entrusted Turkey to the children and the youth. Atatürk knew that modernization could not be achieved in a rapid way; therefore, he presumed that the Turkish children educated at schools resting upon positive sciences could attain his goals. He believed his nation and lived for what he believed. This is the main philosophy of the 23rd April. As can be seen, the educated children and youth have made great contributions to the creation of modern Turkey. Present-day Turkey has evolved over the years and has attained a level of a modern state.

As UNESCO proclaimed 1979 as the International Year of the Child, director of children’s programmes of TRT Ankara Television Tekin Özertem and his assistant Canan Arısoy developed a project aimed at embracing all the children in the world. Upon approval of the project by top executives of the TRT Corporation, preparations for the organization commenced. Thus, the first celebration of TRT International 23 April Children’s festival took place on 23 April 1979 in Turkey, with participation of five countries, namely the USSR, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria. Today, TRT International 23 April Children’s festival is celebrated every year with participation of approximately 50 countries. From 1979 to 2000, celebrations were performed in the capital city Ankara. In the following years, celebrations took place in Turkey’s various major cities such as İzmir, İstanbul and Antalya. Nane Annan, spouse of the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, became the honorary guest of the celebrations on 23 April 2000. In her speech at the gala, Mrs Annan expressed her pleasure at participating in the celebrations and passed greetings from her spouse Kofi Annan. Mrs. Annan also called on the entire world to say “Yes” to the aspiration of children. After her speech, “the common declaration of the children from 40 countries”, which was approved by the children at the International Children’s Congress on 18 April, was read in English and Turkish. The declaration was presented to Mrs. Annan to hand it over to Kofi Annan.

Children aged between 8 and 14 attend the international 23 April children’s festival. The program approximately covers a period from 16 to 26 April. The invited groups are made up of nearly 20 children and 6 executive leaders. By 15 April, guests arrive in the city where the celebrations will take place. TRT appoints a guide for each group and the guides enable coordination with group leaders. Through primary schools in the festival city, each group is entertained by families of their Turkish peers in a warm and affectionate environment. In this way, children of the world recount positive traits of the Turkish nation to their own families and friends when they return to home countries. Doubtlessly, this makes Turkish people gratified. Festival Week begins with a Festival Parade. During the parade, guests wear their traditional outfits, perform their traditional music and dance on the largest street of the city. In the following days, guest countries perform outdoor shows in large parks and embrace with Turkish people. Festival week continues with the children’s visit to the mausoleum of Atatürk, the great leader who dedicated this festival to Turkish children. Then, the children are welcomed by The President of the Turkish Republic, President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly, and Director General of TRT.

On 22 April, the children gather to rehearse the gala. When the big day comes, the gala of the TRT 23 April Children’s Festival takes place. In the gala, which lasts nearly four hours and is broadcast live, all the groups wear their national costumes and present three-minute performances accompanied with their traditional music.

The gala continues with the children conveying the greetings they have brought from their home countries, and ends with a hand-in-hand dance of all the flowers of the world embraced in sentiments of peace and friendship. Through picnics and excursions on 24 and 25 April, the unison and fraternity of the world and Turkish children reach their peak. These activities contribute to the promotion of Turkey and the hospitable Turkish people. When the last day arrives, 26 April, sad hours for children have come. Bursting into tears, they begin to return to their home countries; they are leaving behind their Turkish brothers and sisters, but taking along peace and friendship with them. In a flood of emotions, the festival week comes to an end.

Participant countries[edit]

Year Participant countries (excluding  Turkey) Total countries (ex.  Turkey) Total children Theme
1979  Bulgaria  Iraq  Italy  Romania  Soviet Union 5
1998  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  China  Croatia  Czech Republic  Egypt  Estonia  France  Hungary  India  Italy  Latvia  Libya  Lithuania  Kyrgyzstan  Macedonia  Mongolia  New Zealand  Pakistan  Palestine  Russia  Slovenia  Sudan   Switzerland  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Ukraine  Venezuela 29
2007  Afghanistan  Albania  Angola  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  China  Democratic Republic of Congo  Crimea  Croatia  Czech Republic  Egypt  Ethiopia  Finland  France  Gabon  Georgia  Greece  Guinea  Hungary  India  Indonesia  Iraq  Israel  Ivory Coast  Japan  Kazakhstan  Kyrgyzstan  Libya  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mexico  Moldova  Mongolia  Morocco  Netherlands  Niger  Palestine  Poland  Romania  Russia  Senegal  Serbia  Slovakia  Slovenia  Spain  Sudan  Sweden   Switzerland  Syria  Tajikistan  Tatarstan  Thailand  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Uzbekistan  Venezuela  Vietnam  Yemen 61
2008  Albania  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  China  Crimea  Croatia  Egypt  Georgia  Germany  Hungary  India  Iraq  Japan  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mexico  Moldova  Morocco  Montenegro  Nigeria  Romania  Russia  Senegal  Serbia  Slovakia  Slovenia  Sudan  Tajikistan  Thailand  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  United States  Venezuela 38 600 Barış (Peace)
2009  Afghanistan  Albania  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  China  Colombia  Crimea  Croatia  Czech Republic  Egypt  Finland  France  Gagauzia  Georgia  Germany  Greece  Guinea  Hungary  India  Iraq  Japan  Kenya  Khakassia  South Korea  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Liberia  Macedonia  Mexico  Moldova  Morocco  Mozambique  Netherlands  Niger  Nigeria  Pakistan  Palestine  Poland  Romania  Russia  Senegal  Serbia  Slovakia  Slovenia  Spain  Tatarstan  Thailand  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Ukraine  United States  Venezuela  Vietnam 57
2010  Albania  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bulgaria  Colombia  Czech Republic  Finland  Gagauzia  Germany  Georgia  Hungary  India  Iraq  Japan  Kazakhstan  Kyrgyzstan  Kosovo  Liberia  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mexico  Moldova  Montenegro  Morocco  Mozambique  Niger  Palestine  Puerto Rico  Romania  Russia  Senegal  Serbia  Slovenia  Tatarstan  Thailand  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Ukraine  United States  Venezuela  Vietnam 42
2011  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  China  Crimea  Egypt  Finland  Gagauzia  Georgia  Germany  Japan  Kazakhstan  Kenya  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Lebanon  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mali  Moldova  Montenegro  Netherlands  Palestine  Russia  Senegal  Somalia  Spain  Tatarstan  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Venezuela  Vietnam 34
2012  Albania  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bulgaria  China  Democratic Republic of Congo  Crimea  Egypt  Finland  Gagauzia  Georgia  Hungary  Indonesia  Iraq  Japan  Kazakhstan  Kenya  South Korea  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Liberia  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mali  Moldova  Netherlands  Niger  Nigeria  Palestine  Romania  Russia  Sakha Republic  Senegal  Spain  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Ukraine  Venezuela  Vietnam 40
2013  Albania  Azerbaijan  Bahamas  Bangladesh  Belarus  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  Colombia  Republic of Congo  Crimea  Czech Republic  Fiji  Finland  France  Gagauzia  Georgia  India  Indonesia  Iraq  Israel  Kazakhstan  South Korea  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Lithuania  Macedonia  Maldives  Moldova  Montenegro  Niger  Nigeria  Pakistan  Palestine  Romania  Russia  Sakha Republic  Thailand  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Uzbekistan  Vanuatu  Vietnam  Yemen 44
2014  Albania  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Bulgaria  China  Democratic Republic of Congo  Czech Republic  Finland  Georgia  Hungary  India  Iraq  Kazakhstan  South Korea  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Libya  Lithuania  Macedonia  Maldives  Moldova  Montenegro  Niger  Romania  Russia  Seychelles  Slovakia  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Thailand  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Vietnam  Yemen 33
2015  Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Belarus  Bulgaria  Chile  China  Colombia  Finland  Georgia  Hungary  Iraq  Kazakhstan  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Libya  Lithuania  Macedonia  Maldives  Moldova  Mongolia  Montenegro  Romania  Russia  Sakha Republic  Sri Lanka  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Thailand  Tunisia  Ukraine  Vietnam 31
2016  Afghanistan  Albania  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  Estonia  Georgia  Iraq  Kazakhstan  Kosovo  Kuwait  Kyrgyzstan  Lithuania  Macedonia  Maldives  Moldova  Mongolia  Montenegro  Namibia  Palestine  Romania  Serbia  Seychelles  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Thailand  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Vietnam  United Kingdom 30
2017  Afghanistan  Albania  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Crimea  Gagauzia  Georgia  Guinea  Hungary  Iraq  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mongolia  Morocco  Palestine  Romania  Sakha  Serbia  Seychelles  Sudan  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Ukraine 25
2018  Afghanistan  Albania  Azerbaijan  Bangladesh  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  Chile  China  Colombia  Estonia  Gagauzia  Georgia  Ghana  Guinea  Hungary  Iraq  Kazakhstan  Kenya  Kosovo  Kyrgyzstan  Lebanon  Lithuania  Macedonia  Mali  Mongolia  Montenegro  Palestine  Romania  Russia  Seychelles  Slovenia  Sudan  Tajikistan  Tunisia  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  Turkmenistan  Uganda  Ukraine  United Kingdom  Uzbekistan 41

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External links[edit]