The Turkish legend

In the decades following the war more than 30 Commonwealth war cemeteries and memorials were built on Gallipoli. Today, despite the large Australian ANZAC Day attendances, more Turks visit the old battlefields area. Turkish monuments stand beside those of former enemies. The largest is the 40-metre high Çanakkale Sehitleri memorial.

Gallipoli was important to the Turkish people, because here they had repulsed the invaders. But it was the defeat of the Royal Navy on 18 March 1915 – “Victory Day” – that was mostly celebrated. ANZAC was especially important too, because Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the Turkish republic, had commanded there.

Just as in Australia, there has been a revival of local interest in the 1915 campaign. New memorials have been erected to commemorate at least 85,000 Turkish troops who were killed on Gallipoli. The ordinary soldiers who died there are called “the Martyrs”.

Australians and Turks each see their Gallipoli stories as being about courage, sacrifice, and nationhood. For Turks the Gallipoli “Martyrs” are as important to their legend as the ANZACs are to Australians and New Zealanders.

RC02687
Turkish map of Gallipoli defences
A map reported to have been used by the German general, Liman von Sanders, who commanded the Turkish forces on Gallipoli. It shows the main initial disposition of his forces to be on the tip of the peninsula, at the northern narrow waist at Bulair, and on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles. Ari Burnu, where the ANZACs landed on 25 April, was only thinly defended.RC02687

P04411.009 Turkish sailors laying mines P04411.00
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Turkish crew with a camouflaged coastal gun P04411.031

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Turkish soldier on a destroyed Krupp heavy coastal artillery gunP04411.030
P04411.089Senior Turkish officers using a telescope P04411.089

P04411.092Turkish gunners manning a German field gun P04411.092

P04411.085A group of veteran Turkish soldiers with their officers P04411.085

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A marching band leads Turkish soldiers out of Constantinople P04411.084

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A Turkish army machine-gun company going to the front P04411.095

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Turkish troops resting on a march P04411.045

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Turkish officials visiting the battlefield (Mustafa Kemal, fourth from left) P01141.002

The Turkish nation defended her honour in Gallipoli against Entente States by losing [many] thousands of her sons to martyrdom.

Ministry of Culture, Republic of Turkey