President, prime minister highlight unity on Martyrs’ Day
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Citizens started visiting the sites in Gallipoli over the weekend. DHA photoThe Gallipoli War was a sign of the country’s unity and brotherhood, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said in a statement released on the 98th anniversary of the March 18 Martyrs’ Day and Dardanelles Naval Victory.
“The fight that was put up in the Dardanelles is the clearest proof that no power shall harm our unity and 1,000-year-old brotherhood,” Gül said. “That spirit and consciousness will be the strongest basis in our progress as a country that has advanced to the highest of standards.”
Gül said the “brave fight” and “unique sacrifices” achieved victory for the Turkish people, who “united in one body, one heart.”
The cemeteries of the land, now home to martyrs of many nations and ethnicities, also stand as a monument to peace and humanity, Gül added.
From April 25, 1915, to January 9, 1916, a joint British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul and secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed, leading to heavy casualties on both sides.
Both the March 18th Naval Victory and the Gallipoli land victories restored the Turkish Army’s prestige in the world and constituted a milestone in the Turkish nation’s struggle for independence.
The events, which were considered the Ottoman Empire’s biggest achievement during World War I, are known in the West as the “Gallipoli Campaign” or the “Battle of Gallipoli.”
Spirit of the martyrs
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also spoke of the Dardanelles victory during a speech he gave in Çanakkale’s Biga.
“With every step we took in the last decade, we tried to follow the steps of our martyrs,” Erdoğan said. “It is vital to live and carry the spirit of Çanakkale. We feel the legacy of our martyrs on our shoulders, and we take our steps accordingly.”
Erdoğan added that the memory of the martyrs led them to preserve brotherhood and unity in the country.
“Those who call themselves nationalists failed to carry the legacy,” Erdoğan said. “Those who speak of democracy and peace did not come here and did not see the ones buried that were from Diyarbakır, Batman and Şanlı. We are a government that follows the martyrs’ path. We will protect that brotherhood and that history with all our strength. We will fight to end tears and terrorism even if they attempt to stop us from doing so.”