Saturday, 25 April 2015

We Remember: Battle of Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

Ottoman troops on the front line during the Gallipoli War, 1915

Also known as Çanakkale Savaşı, this World War I campaign started as an Allied naval assault in March to capture the Dardanelles –  a key sea route for their opponents the Ottomans  and open a second Front. On 25 April, the Allies landed 500,000 troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula intending to pounce on Istanbul, but their plans were thwarted.

The Ottoman Empire’s diverse communities – Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Greeks, Jews, Armenians and others – came together under Atatürk in a determined bid to repel the invading Allied forces, which included troops from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Ireland. The bitter 9-month battle ended in January 1916 with a famous victory for the Ottomans, exacting a heavy toll on both sides with some half-a-million casualties.

Every 25th April –"Anzac Day" – Australia, New Zealand and Turkey join to commemorate their fallen soldiers. In the immortal words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: 
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...
You are now laying in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side Now here in this country of ours...
You the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears
Your sons are now laying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this sand they have become our sons as well."

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