Çanakkale Savaştan Barışa Uzanan Yol fotoğraf sergisi

Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler 23.04.2015

This year we commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Çanakkale. To this end, aPeace Summit is being held today in Istanbul attended by Heads of State andGovernment along with numerous dignitaries, which will be followed by a series of ceremoniesat Çanakkale/Gallipoli tomorrow and the observance of ANZAC Day on the 25th of April.

Today, the 23rd of April, also marks the 95th anniversary of the inauguration of the TurkishGrand National Assembly in 1920 in Ankara. The opening of the Parliament composed ofdeputies from all across Anatolia was the first step towards the creation of the Republic ofTurkey. Following the proclamation of the Republic on the 29th of October 1923, Atatürkdedicated the 23rd of April as the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day for the childrenasthey were the future of the new nation.

We are extremely happy to celebrate these two important milestones in the history ofournationhood, today, together with you.

The Ottoman Empire had joined the war on the side of the Central Powers at the end of1914 and soon after the Çanakkale Naval Battle started with the naval attack on the TurkishStraits by Anglo-French naval forces on the 18 th of March 1915. This attempt to penetratetheDardanelles however failed and three battleships were sunk by the mines laid by the Turkishship Nusrat.

Following this victory, the Allied forces staged a large scale troop landing on theGeliboluPeninsula on the 25 of April 1915. This was the beginning of the Çanakkale Land Battles, whichwould last for nine months at great human cost until the defeat and retreat of Allied forces on20 December 1915.

For us the Çanakkale Battles are a heroic saga and a major turning point that changed the fate of the Turkish nation and perhaps even the course of history, as it in many ways prepared the ground for the birth of the new Turkish Republic, whose founding father andFirst PresidentMustafa Kemal Atatürk, was at the time the Commander of the 19th Division at Gallipoli and the struggle itself formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence which followed a few years later.

The Çanakkale Battles which caused more than half a million casualties from both sides areconsidered one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. Nevertheless, they are often also refered to as the last “gentlemen’s battle” of the century as soldiers from both sides not only adhered to the millitary codes of conduct and ethics in combat but also displayed great dignity, humanity and compassion on the battlefield.

It is also known as one of the rare battles where foe turned into friend in the intervals ofcombat, where a lasting friendship replaced the hostilities of the war as the name of ourexhibition today "Çanakkale: Road to Peace Out of War" implies. The sentiments that remained arecaptured in the famous moving words of Atatürk,eched forever in our collectiveconsciousness,addressed to theANZAC mothers of fallen soldiers who found a new homeland on Turkishsoil,which youwill find in the next room.

I hope you will enjoy this exhibition of faded photos that have travelled over timetoremind usofthis chapter of history and the rare friendship that grew out of combat on Turkish territory, whichare not only snapshots of the military dimension of the Battle of Çanakkale but also the humanerelationship across thetrenches between the soldiers on opposing fronts.


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