Turkish Defense Ministry says Erdoğan’s grandfather froze to death during World War One
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s grandfather froze to death during his military service for the forces of the Ottoman Empire during World War One, the Defense Ministry has stated, one day after the president’s own remarks on the issue.
“It is recorded in our archives that ‘Kemal, son of Mustafa,’ the grandfather of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was performing military service in these years and that he died during military service,” a statement from the ministry read on Jan. 10.
It added that according to the official Ottoman recording system, “only those killed by direct enemy force … are recorded as martyrs. Those who have died of cold, drowning or epidemics are not recorded as martyrs.”
The statement came after Erdoğan said in a speech on Jan. 9 that his grandfather was among those killed during the Sarıkamış campaign that took place on the frontier of the Russia Empire between December 1914 and January 1915.
Erdoğan marked the anniversary of the engagement, which ended with a Russian victory and thousands of losses for the Ottoman Empire.
“When some of the notables of our village returned from the Sarıkamış campaign, they said they saw my grandfather frozen to death holding his gun in his hand. May God rest the souls of all our Sarıkamış martyrs, including my grandfather,” he said.