INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
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Question: What is Victory Day and when are military promotions in Turkey?
Victory Day is a Turkish national holiday that's celebrated on Aug. 30 each year. It's the day of the final victory between national Turkish forces over Greek invaders in 1922.
The Ottoman Empire, which was in power for almost 600 years, was facing defeat during World War I. After the war, Turkey was divided and occupied by British, French, Italian and Greek troops.
Since the Ottoman Empire was unable to resist the occupation, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk sparked the War of Independence and established a national Turkish force 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 defeated the more-equipped Greek army. This great victory led the Turkish troops to launch a final attack to clear the country of enemy forces.
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 Turkey's history and was responsible for founding the free Republic of Turkey.
Turkish history is filled with victories in August. One of the most notable is the Malazgirt (Manzikert) victory.
The battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt), 951 years ago, can be seen as one of the turning points of world history. Seljuk Turks, commanded by Alpaslan, confronted the Byzantines at Malazgirt (Manzikert) 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. The Turks conquered all of Anatolia and made it their homeland.
The week of Aug. 26 is celebrated with military parades in the cities and finally torch-lit parades wrap up the day's observances.
As a part of the annual Aug. 30 celebration, all promotions in the Turkish armed forces are made on this date each year. As a result of the promotions, some assignments of high-ranking officers take place during that time of the year.
Moreover, Aug. 30 is also when noncommissioned officers and officers enter the service after graduating from school and when new assignments are given.
Officers join the Turkish Air Force as second lieutenants after finishing the Turkish Air Force Academy, which lasts four years.
Noncommissioned officers join the armed forces after finishing military high school and start as E-3s. They promote and add on an additional stripe every three years for the first two promotions and every six years for the following promotions.
The High Military Council convenes in the first week of August every year. Promotions of colonels to generals, generals to a higher rank, and the reassignments of the generals are decided by the High Military Council headed by the president.