Hope and resistance: A Turkish example

Hope and resistance: A Turkish example

In his message to celebrate Turkish Victory Day on Aug. 30, former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who is now retired, gave a striking example.

Victory Day marks the anniversary of the end of the Grand Attack of the Turkish national armies against the invading Greek armies backed by the British Empire on Aug. 30, 1922, towards the end of the War of Independence.

Başbuğ recalled that 207,947 troops had fought in the Grand Attack, which took four days. It was the final blow and resulted in the expulsion of the last invading troops from the port of İzmir on Sept. 9.

What Başbuğ wanted to point out was the number of Turkish troops in the Sakarya Pitched Battle a year ago, which was 96,326.

The number of troops had increased by more than double in a year despite the nationalist Ankara armies under the command of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was denounced as a rebel by Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin in Istanbul and condemned to death.

“The main reason for the increase in the number of troops is Atatürk’s move, which took people out of desperation and filled them with hope,” said Başbuğ.

Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that has managed to survive no matter what the cost. In the Turkish example, the nation survived even though its borders, regime and even the capital city changed. Russia after the Russian Revolution and after the Soviet Union disintegrated is another example; Iran is another one. In Europe, Germany is like that. The United Kingdom, Spain, Austria and Greece are too, as well as China, of course. Such nations with a state tradition have the potential to be born again from their ashes.

Once again, Turkey is passing through difficulties nowadays. The quality of democracy and economy have been losing ground, especially since the military coup attempt in 2016. Those looking at Turkey from the outside tend to see the developments in black-and-white; something we Turkish citizens do from time to time.

Turkey’s perception in the outer world, the loss in the value of Turkey’s currency, the reliability of the courts and media can easily push people to desperation. But there is hope in every desperation and like desperation, hope is also how the Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced to resume the European Union harmonization reforms on Aug. 29, acknowledging the deficiencies, especially in the judiciary system and economy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson had responded that a stable, democratic and prosperous Turkey is in Germany’s interests.

It is actually in everyone’s interest.

The important thing is to see the ray of hope. As long as there is hope, the numbers in support of it can obviously increase.

Murat Yetkin, Victory Day, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan