ANZACs mark 104th year of Gallipoli battle
Top officials and representatives of countries gathered on April 24 at the site of one of World War I’s bloodiest battles to pay respects to the thousands - Turkish, British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers - who died fighting in the Gallipoli land campaign over 100 years ago.
The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, took place between April 25, 1915 and Jan. 9, 1916.
Britain and France wanted to secure their ally Russia, as the Gallipoli peninsula provides a sea route to what was then the Russian Empire.
Their aim was to capture the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul.
Turks repelled a naval attack, and there were many casualties on both sides during the eight-month offensive.
When the land campaign also failed, the invading forces withdrew.
The Turkish nation made history over a century ago in the Gallipoli battle, said Turksih Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy on April 24.
“The defense of Çanakkale was not only a struggle in which the Turkish people defended their homeland,” said Ersoy at a ceremony marking the 104th anniversary of the land portion of the battle in northwestern Turkey.
“Turkish soldiers defended, protected, and rescued the values of humanity too on the battlefield with the steadfastness and compassion they had for the sake of their belief.”
He added that those soldiers gave “the most meaningful answer to the rapidly spreading racism and Islamophobia in the world today.”
Ersoy stressed that even with limited weapons and ammunition, Turkish soldiers brought to heel the most advanced militaries of the era during the 1915 battle.
“This victory had a major impact on world military and political history and was a turning point in our national history that shaped our future,” he added.
Ersoy also paid his respects to the all soldiers killed in that landmark campaign that changed the course of the Great War and gave a glimmer of hope for the country’s future war for independence.