Turkish officials mark WWI Gallipoli victory
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoTurkish officials have marked the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Victory, the battle that marked a turnaround against the Allied Forces in favor of the Turks during World War I.
“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Naval Victory, we remember with gratitude the veteran Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] and our martyrs representing self-sacrifice and altruism on this day of pride,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a written statement released on March 17.
“We will exert all efforts to raise our nation beyond the level of contemporary civilizations,” Erdoğan also said, referring to the famous maxim of Atatürk, who later went on to found the Republic of Turkey.
“It is only by embracing our country, flag, unity and solidarity that we can pay our debt of gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of martyrs lying in Gallipoli,” he added.
The 1915 battle took place in the Dardanelles Strait in the Çanakkale province’s district of Gallipoli, as the Ottoman forces repelled the invading Allied forces who were seeking to force their way through to Istanbul.
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz also issued a statement, in which he referred to the Arab soldiers who died fighting for the Ottomans.
“Those who see and live the Çanakkale spirit and visit the Çanakkale martyrs know why we have to take care of the victims of the Syrian civil war … We have a duty of loyalty to those who lost their grandparents in Çanakkale,” Yılmaz said.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik released a commemoration message for the anniversary.
“We will make ourselves heard with an extensive ceremony to emphasize that the Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial does not symbolize war, but symbolizes peace,” Çelik said.
The conflict is also accepted as one of the greatest Ottoman victories during World War I and a major failure for the Allied forces, but there were many casualties on both sides after eight months of fighting.
Around 13,000 New Zealanders and 50,000 Australians fought in the battle, and at least 2,700 New Zealanders and 8,700 Australians were killed.
The Ottomans lost almost 60,000 soldiers. Around 1,700 Indian soldiers, fighting for the British crown, also lost their lives.