Today, Turkey commemorates the 100th anniversary of victory of the naval battle at Çanakkale, which was won when Ottoman artillery held off an invading force of Allied States in 1915. Heroism displayed by Turkish troops in defending their homeland stopped the advance, and the Battles ended in clear victory for the Ottoman State.
The Battle of Çanakkale, which is also known as the Battle of Gallipoli, the Dardanelles Campaign or the Gallipoli Campaign, was fought on land and sea around the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in Turkish) on the northern shore of the Dardanelles strait during World War I between March 18, 1915 and January 9, 1916. March 18 is also known as Martyrs' Day, in which the martyrs of the battle are commemorated every year across Turkey.
The Turkish nation went through an epic struggle during the battle, as people of various ethnicities fought together to win the war.
The British and French were trying to take control of İstanbul and the Turkish straits in order to secure access to Russia. Russia's allies Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula with the eventual aim of capturing the Ottoman capital.
However, the Allied forces were unsuccessful in their efforts. The campaign ended after eight months of fighting, with heavy casualties on both sides, leaving veterans with many stories to tell their descendants.
Atatürk rose as an important leader in the legendary 57th infantry regiment of the Ottoman army, which was fighting the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) of the Allied forces.
In a speech in April 1915, Atatürk reportedly told his soldiers in the 57th regiment: “I do not order you to fight, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can come forward and take our places.”
Almost no soldiers from the 57th regiment survived the war. Atatürk himself was hit by a piece of shrapnel but was saved by the pocket watch he kept in his breast pocket. Today, the site where he was hit is marked by his statue, and the area where the battle was fought is a pilgrimage destination for many Turks. Almost every day of the year, the memorial for the martyrs of the war receives thousands of visitors who come to pray for their deceased ancestors.
The 100th anniversary of Çanakkale Naval Battles is being celebrated across the country with ceremonies, and martyrs are being commemorated with gratitude.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and several ministers attend the ceremonies in Çanakkale.
A gold medal, bearing the inscription 'Çanakkale is Impassable', is attached to a Turkish flag, which symbolizes 235 thousand lives who died saving the country.
Ceremonies will continue at the Martyrs' Memorial located in the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The cemetery will be visited after a parade of battleships and a show of fighter jets.
Source: Today's Zaman, TRT