Nation marks Independence War victory
The Turkish nation and Turkey’s diplomatic missions around the world will celebrate Victory Day today, marking the 99th anniversary of when Turkish armies succeeded in the Great Offensive under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk against occupying Greek forces on Aug. 30 in 1922.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with senior government and high-ranking military officials as well as opposition leaders laid a wreath at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in the capital Ankara.
“We are increasing the deterrence of Turkish Armed Forces, which is the apple of our nation’s eyes, in every field with steps taken in the defense industry,” Erdoğan wrote in the Anitkabir memorial book.
“Through the reforms that we have implemented in democracy, justice, rights and freedoms, we strengthen the bond between the nation and the republic.”
“We are carrying Turkey to a bright future in line with the goals you have set for us,” the Turkish president said while affirming that the country “is in safe hands.”
Earlier, Erdoğan also issued a statement to mark Victory Day. “We are in the bliss of achieving the 99th anniversary of the Great Victory, one of the cornerstones of our centuries-old glorious history. I mark the honor of the August 30 Victory Day of our nation, the Turkish Cypriots and our citizens living in various countries around the world,” Erdoğan said in a written message.
Noting that Aug. 30 is one of the most critical turning points in the country’s history, Erdoğan said: “The spirit, belief and the will that inspired the Great Victory are drawing the direction for our nation today, just as it did 99 years ago.”
Turkey will continue to defend the rights of the oppressed against the oppressors and to strive for peace, justice and freedom to prevail all over the world, he added.
Turkey has become the hope of not only its 84 million citizens living within its borders but also hundreds of millions from the Balkans to Asia, from Africa to Europe, Erdoğan also said.
“On the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Dumlupinar, I commemorate the founder of the Turkish Republic Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his heroic comrades-in-arms with mercy and gratitude,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu hailed the Turkish War of Independence as “the first serious struggle against the colonial and imperialist ideology that had descended on the world like a nightmare for nearly a century.”
He said the struggle was “an example and a source of inspiration for all oppressed nations” and a victory that remains a source of pride to this day.
“On this occasion, I commemorate all our commanders, martyrs, and veterans with mercy and gratitude, especially Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the commander of the great victory,” Soylu said in a statement.
“We are proud, honored, and thankful,” said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a statement on Aug. 29. “We, the children of the Turkish Republic, are the children of those who fought for full independence,” the statement noted.
We express gratitude toward Atatürk and his comrades in arms, it added.
All the municipalities of the 81 provinces organized official ceremonies as some conducted public concerts. The Istanbul Classical Cars Association (İKOD) formed a convoy with 99 classical cars in the Kartal district, marking the anniversary year.
Authorities at Sabiha Gökçen Airport delivered Turkish flags to each passenger on board as 15 divers unfurled a 6-meter-long Turkish flag near a tank submerged in the tourism hotspot Kaş in the southern province of Antalya.
The municipality of Beşiktaş in Istanbul conducted a series of concerts at the district center, starting from late Aug. 28. Kartal, another municipality in Istanbul, organized six-day-long celebrations, including concerts, exhibitions and marches.
A military parade was conducted in Istanbul’s famous Vatan Avenue. Cadets read poems depicting the Independence War as hundreds of spectators watching the soldiers march waved Turkish flags.
A group of trekkers in the eastern province of Erzurum unfurled a huge Turkish flag near Lake Karagöl after a 12-kilometer walk.
A social media campaign called “Zafer Yolumuz,” (Our victory path) started on Aug. 28, encouraging people to walk the path that Turkish soldiers marched 99 years ago.
Victory Day marks the final battle against Greek forces in Dumlupınar in 1922 and is dedicated to Turkey’s armed forces.
From Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 of 1922, Turkish forces fought the Battle of Dumlupınar in Turkey’s western Kütahya province, where the invading Greek army was decisively defeated.
By the end of 1922, all foreign forces had left the territories which would collectively become the new Republic of Turkey one year later.
“Armies, your first goal is the Mediterranean. Forward!” Atatürk ordered the army which would move out from western Kütahya on Sept. 1, 1922.
On Aug. 27, the Turkish Army liberated Afyonkarahisar from the Greek Army, Kütahya on Aug. 30, and the western province of İzmir on Sept. 9.
Two years later, on Aug. 30, 1924, Atatürk attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Martyr Sancaktar Soldier Monument.
Addressing the audience, Atatürk said: “The Turkish nation has once again engraved this truth into history with a steel pen with the victory it has won, the power it showed and its will.”