The Turkish nation and Turkey’s diplomatic missions around the world will celebrate Victory Day today, marking the 99th anniversary of when Turkish armies succeeded in the Great Offensive under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk against occupying Greek forces on Aug. 30 in 1922.
“We are in the bliss of achieving the 99th anniversary of the Great Victory, one of the cornerstones of our centuries-old glorious history. I mark the honor of the August 30 Victory Day of our nation, Turkish Cypriots and our citizens living in various countries around the world,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a written message.
Erdoğan also commemorated Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the venerated veteran and commander-in-chief of Turkey’s War of Independence and founder of the Turkish Republic, as well as esteemed members of Turkey’s parliament and the heroic soldiers.
He stressed that Aug. 30 is one of the most critical turning points in the country’s history and paved the way for the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
Despite all kinds of poverty and impossibility, the Turkish people have once again shown that these lands, which were made our home with the Battle of Malazgirt (Manzikert) in 1071, are our eternal homeland, he said.
Turkish control of Anatolia – the vast territory of modern Turkey – began with the Aug. 26, 1071 Battle of Malazgirt, which saw the Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alparslan defeat a much larger Byzantine army.
“The spirit, belief and will that inspired the Great Victory are drawing the direction for our nation today, just as it did 99 years ago,” Erdoğan added.
He said Turkey has become the hope of not only its 84 million citizens living within its borders but also hundreds of millions from the Balkans to Asia, from Africa to Europe.
Turkey will continue to defend the rights of the oppressed against the oppressors and to strive for peace, justice and freedom to prevail all over the world, he added.
A state ceremony will be held at Anıtkabir, Atatürk’s mausoleum, in the capital Ankara in the morning.
“We are proud, honored and thankful,” said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a statement on Aug. 29. “We, the children of the Turkish Republic, are the children of those who fought for full independence,” the statement noted.
We express gratitude toward Atatürk and his comrades in arms, it added.
The municipality of Beşiktaş in Istanbul conducted a series of concerts at the district center, starting from late Aug. 28. Kartal, another municipality in Istanbul, organized six-day-long celebrations, including concerts, exhibitions and marches.
Within the scope of preparations for the celebrations, a military rehearsal was held on Aug. 29 on the famous Vatan Avenue in Istanbul.
A social media campaign called “Zafer Yolumuz,” (Our victory path) started on Aug. 28, encouraging people to walk the path that Turkish soldiers marched 99 years ago.
Victory Day marks the final battle against Greek forces in Dumlupınar in 1922 and is dedicated to Turkey’s armed forces.
From Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 of 1922, Turkish forces fought the Battle of Dumlupınar in Turkey’s western Kütahya province, where the invading Greek army was decisively defeated.
By the end of 1922, all foreign forces had left the territories which would collectively become the new Republic of Turkey one year later.
“Armies, your first goal is the Mediterranean. Forward!” Atatürk ordered the army which would move out from western Kütahya on Sept. 1, 1922.
On Aug. 27, the Turkish Army liberated Afyonkarahisar from the Greek Army, Kütahya on Aug. 30, and the western province of İzmir on Sept. 9.
Two years later, on Aug. 30, 1924, Atatürk attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Martyr Sancaktar Soldier Monument.
Addressing the audience, Atatürk said: “The Turkish nation has once again engraved this truth into history with a steel pen with the victory it has won, the power it showed and its will.”
Hurriyet Daily News