Erdoğan marks 105th anniversary of Çanakkale Victory
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s president on March 17 marked 105th anniversary of Çanakkale Victory and Martyrs’ Day and remembered the fallen soldiers who lost their lives during naval and ground battles in Çanakkale (Gallipoli Campaign) during the World War I.
“Those who do not know what happened in [northwestern province of] Çanakkale a century ago, and those who do not understand the struggle, cannot understand the determination in our stance against threats to our country today,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.
“Çanakkale Victory, which is one of milestones in our history, was also the harbinger of our War of Independence, and the unity, brotherhood and solidarity exhibited in Çanakkale revealed the spirit that is essential for our struggle for the independence,” Erdogan added.
Tens of thousands of soldiers died in one of the world's most ferocious battles 105 years ago in the Gallipoli Campaign in Ottoman Turkey during the World War I.
The Allied Forces started their attack on March 18 -- the day commemorated as Çanakkale Naval Victory Day -- but the waters were filled with a network of mines laid by Ottoman vessels and some greatest battleships sank as a result.
The events leading up to the momentous battle started in February 1915, when Britain and France decided to launch the Gallipoli Campaign to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war as quickly as possible by reaching and capturing its capital, Istanbul.
On April 25, 1915, nine months into the World War I, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gelibolu peninsula.
The troops were there as part of a plan to open Çanakkale Strait on Turkey's Aegean coast to Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten the then-Ottoman capital, Istanbul.
The Allied Forces, however, encountered strong and courageous resistance from the Turks and the campaign turned out to be a costly failure.
Tens of thousands of Turkish nationals and soldiers died, along with tens of thousands of Europeans, plus around 7,000-8,000 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.
Victory against the Allied forces boosted the morale of the Turkish side, which then went on to wage a war of independence between 1919 and 1922, and eventually formed a republic in 1923 from the ashes of the old empire.