Turkey commemorates veterans on Veterans Day
“When our nation was changing the course of history with its glorious victories, it protected its flag, nation and future at all costs and entrusted us a history filled with valour. As our nation opened the gates of Anatolia in 1071, as it was protecting the country during the Dardanelles and Independence wars or protecting our future against traitors during July 15 [defeated coup attempt of 2016], it always put the holy war approach ahead of all values,” Erdoğan said in a written statement.
“Our martyrs and veterans, who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the nation, have reached the most respected position before the eyes of our people,” he said.
“The titles given for martyrs and veterans are huge honors, which cannot be compared to any material values,” he added.
It is an honor to be a member of this “veteran nation,” the president said.
“Hereby, I commemorate Veterans Day with my sincere feelings and the anniversary of Gazi [Veteran] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our republic, receiving ‘Marshall’ and ‘Veteran’ titles due to his leadership in the Independence struggle,” he said.
“I am presenting my gratitude and thankfulness to our veterans,” he added.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a revolutionary statesman, an abrupt reformist and a renowned commander-in-chief, was awarded “Marshall” and “Veteran” titles by the Turkish Parliament on Sept. 19, 1921, due to his heroic generalship during the War of Independence.
On Sept. 19, wreathes were laid at the Atatürk's monuments, senior officials made speeches and students performed theatre plays during school ceremonies to mark the day.
Also, videos on the Turkish War of Independence were screened at the ceremonies.
"The precious memories of our heroes who defended this land -- which we inherited from our ancestors -- and gave the whole world the message that 'Anatolia is inviolable', will always be a guidance for our youth," a war veteran, Ali Güz said at the ceremony in Turkey's northwestern Tekirdağ province.
In eastern Van province, 90-year-old Korean War Veteran Osman Çelik said he had fought for two years in Korea.
"I would willingly fight for my country again," he said.