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Turkey commemorates Ataturkís August 10 victory at Gallipoli

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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Aug 2007 18:38    Onderwerp: Turkey commemorates Ataturkís August 10 victory at Gallipoli Reageer met quote

Turkey commemorates Ataturkís August 10 victory at Gallipoli
Military and religious ceremonies were held at in the Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park.

ECEABAT/CANAKKALE - Ninety-two years ago, Turkish troops led by the then colonel Mustafa Kemal pushed an Allied force off the peak of Chunuk Bair, sealing the Ottoman victory in the Gallipoli Campaign.

This battle made Mustafa Kemal a national hero, winning him the title of the Hero of Anafartalar (the region near the hills of Chunuk Bair), four years before he launched the War of Independence and became the founder father of modern Turkey.

On Friday many Turks flocked to the Gallipoli Peninsula to mark this victory of Ataturk and pay homage to those who fell during the battles of 1915.

Although the August 10 ceremonies were not attended by senior officials from Ankara such as the prime minister, as is the case for the ceremonies on March
18 to commemorate the Ottoman victory over the Allied fleet on that day in 1915, Friday saw many civilians once more remember their leaderís victory that brought him national fame.

In a written message issued to mark the anniversary of the August 10 battle, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that this victory by the great leader who changed the destiny of the country brought him onto historyís stage in a way in which he could never be forgotten One place where the memory of Mustafa Kemal and Turkish and Allied troops who fought on Chunuk Bair that day, and on the Suvla front of the Gallipoli Campaign is kept alive is the little visited village of Buyuk Anafartalar, which gave its name to the Hero of Anafartalar.

While many may have heard of the ANZACís the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who fought on the Ariburnu front, few remember the fighting on the nearby Suvla front, where British troops landed in early August, their offencive halted by Mustafa Kemal.

One who has not forgotten is Ozay Gundogan. After three decades of work to gather and protect the artefacts from the war, Gundogan opened his Buyuk Anafartalar Front Collection earlier this year.

In the few short months it has been open, the museum has received high praise, with well known British historian Paul Reed saying, ďIn all my visits to the peninsula, this is the best museum that I have ever visited.Ē

Though small, the museum contains extensive information in English and Turkish on the many artefacts on display. One of the most interesting pieces in the collection is an original Ottoman map issued to the commander of the 136th regiment.

Another item on display is a small inscribed badge belonging to a British officer, Eric Marson, who was killed in the fighting on Chunuk Bair on August 10.
However, the whispered stories told by the artefacts on display and the extensively researched information are not the only sounds of history in Buyuk Anafartalar. Living close to the museum is 98 year old Fatma Hizlan, a child in the village at the time of the war who retains her vivid memories of the time, including meeting Mustafa Kemal.

ďThe Anafartalar victory is significant not only to the one particular sector on the peninsula but indirectly on the course of the foundation of present Turkey,Ē museum owner Ozay Gundogan said. ďI felt that this part of the war and Ataturkís deeds were overshadowed by events on other sectors and as a local citizen I saw it as my duty to bring this museum into being.Ē

The large number of entries in the museumís visitorís book show that the artefacts from the Anafartalar front have touched many and its tale is destined to be heard by many more.
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