Turkish Victory Day honors past, present armed forces

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
In honor of the final victory of national Turkish forces over Greek invaders in 1922, all Turkish armed forces promotions, enlistments and commissions occur Aug. 30, also known as the national holiday Victory Day.

The High Military Council convenes the first week of August every year when the promotions of colonels to general, promotions of generals to a higher rank and reassignments of generals are decided by the council headed by the prime minister.

Then on Aug. 30, non-comissioned officers and officers enter the service after graduating from school and new assignments are made. Officers join the Turkish air force as second lieutants after graduating from the four-year air force academy. As a result of the promotions, some assignments of high-ranking officers take place.

Military service is required for Turkish males. At the age of 20, every Turkish male joins the armed forces for 15 months. College graduates serve a total of 12 months compulsory military service in the armed forces. They serve as third lieutenants after three months of basic training.

NCOs join the armed forces after finishing military high school and start as an E-3. An additional stripe is awarded every three years with the exception of promotion to E-8 and E-9 which require six years. Officers also have to serve a number of years before promtion. To get promoted officers ranked O-1 must serve three years, O-2 and O-3 must serve six years, O-4 must serve five years, O-5 must serve three years, and O-6 must serve five 5 years with a maximum of eight years.

Torch-light parades wrap up Victory Day's observances, which entails military parades in the cities during that time.

Turkish history is filled with victories in August. One such victory is the Malazgirt, or Manzikert, victory.

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. After that victory, Turks conquered all Anatolia and made it their homeland.

One of the most notable victories for Turkey occured following World War I and is the triumph for which Victory Day is declared.

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.