Ask Mehmet: Victory Day
By Mehmet Birbiri, 39th Air Base Wing Host Nation Advisor
/ Published August 27, 2013
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Editor's note: Ask Mehmet is a forum for people to ask questions about the local area, as well as the outer confines of the region and the country as a whole. To submit a question, send an e-mail with the subject "Ask Mehmet" to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, look for an answer to the question on the 39th Air Base Wing's official website at www.incirlik.af.mil and Incirlik Air Base's Facebook page.
Victory Day is a Turkish national holiday celebrated Aug. 30. It's the day of the great and final victory of national Turkish forces over Greek invaders in 1922. I will provide some background on the historic day.
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 forces.
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 Turkey.
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 Turkish troops to launch a final attack to clear the country of enemy troops.
August 26, 1922 the Turks began their final 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.
The month of August is filled with historic victories for Turkish people. One of the most notable is the Malazgirt or Manzikert victory.
Seljuk Turks, commanded by Alpaslan, were confronted by the Byzantines at Malazgirt in eastern Turkey Aug. 26, 1071. Fifty-five thousand Turkish warriors won a great victory against 200,000 Byzantine troops commanded by the emperor, Romanus Diogenus. After that victory, the Turks conquered all Anatolia and made it their homeland.
The week of Aug. 26 is celebrated with military parades in the cities and torch-lit parades wrap up the day's observances.
Also, all promotions in the Turkish Armed Forces are made on the same day of the year, Aug. 30.
As you might know, military service mandatory for Turkish males. At the age of 20, every Turkish male joins the armed forces for 15 months. They are called askers.
All noncomissioned and commissioned officers enter the service Aug. 30, and are given new assignments after graduating from school. Officers join the Turkish Air Force as second lieutenants after finishing the Turkish Air Force Academy, which lasts four years.
College graduates serve a total of 12 months compulsory military service in the armed forces and serve as third lieutenants after three months of basic training.
NCOs join the armed forces after finishing military high school and start the pay grade E-3. They put on a 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 prime minister.