May 19, 1919
Mustafa Kemal lands in Samsun, a city located on the Black Sea,from where he started Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919, to Ankara, the country’s capital. The imperial government asked him to go to Samsun for stalling an Allied occupation of the Black Sea coast on account of clashes that had broken out between local Greeks and Muslims.
He started a popular uprising against the decision of the World War I allies to divide many territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
Following Atatürk’s wish, the Turkish government declared May 19 to be Youth and Sports Day and made it an official holiday in 1938. The day received its present name, the “Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day”, in 1981, which became the 100th anniversary of Atatürk’s birth.Many Turks also observe May 19 as Atatürk’s birthday. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, Atatürk used to say he was born on May 19 (referring to his political career). Many people lay wreaths to Atatürk’s monuments and hang Turkish flags outside their windows.