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Victory Day

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Victory Day is a national holiday that’s celebrated on Aug. 30. It’s the day of the great and final victory of national Turkish forces over Greek invaders in 1922.

           

The Ottoman Empire, which was in power for almost 600 years, was on the losing side of World War I. After the war, Turkey was divided and occupied by British, French, Italian and Greek troops.

           

Since the Ottoman Empire had no power to resist the occupation, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk sparked the War of Independence and established national forces to drive foreign forces out of the country.

           

After a long and tough struggle, Turkish and Greek forces converged along the shores of the Sakarya river. The battle was along a 100-kilometer front.

 

During the battle, Ataturk told his troops, “There is no line of defense, but an area of defense…and that area is the whole country. Not one inch of the country is to be abandoned until it is drenched with Turkish blood.”

           

For 22 days, forces fought chest-to-chest without interruption until Turkish forces crushed the better-armed and better-manned Greek army. This great victory led the Turkish troops to launch a final attack to clear the country of enemy troops.

           

On Aug. 26, 1922, the Turks started the attack in Afyon, and after four days of fighting, the Turks won one of their largest victories. The victory was a turning point in founding the free Republic of Turkey.

 

Turkish history is filled with victories in Aug. One of the most notable one is the Malazgirt (Manzikert) victory.

 

The battle of Manzikert, 947 years ago, can be seen as one of the turning points of world history.  

 

Seljuk Turks, commanded by Alpaslan, confronted by the Byzantines at Malazgirt in eastern Turkey on Aug. 26, 1071. The 55,000 Turkish warriors won a great victory against 200,000 Byzantine troops commanded by the emperor, Romanus Diogenus. The Seljuks captured the emperor and after the battle, Anatolia opened to Turkish settlement and rule after that victory, Turks conquered all Anatolia and made it their homeland.

           

The week of Aug. 26 that holds so much Turkish history, is highly celebrated with military parades in the cities, while wrapping up the day’s observances with torch-light parades.