Monday, August 30, 2010

Two Is Better Than One

Magnet # 329:  Map, Flags of Turkey

Material:  Acrylic

Purchased By:  Dad

Once again, they're celebrating over in Turkey, only this time, it's in honor of Victory Day, when they won the final battle for their independence in 1922.  The nation's fight to free themselves from their oppressors wasn't very long when compared to that of other countries - less than a brief four years in all.  And yet, the Turk's pride in overcoming those who would have kept them down and forming their own country is evident by the fact that they are still celebrating their victory 88 years later.

The Republic of Turkey is descended from the remnants of the once-powerful Ottoman Empire, but they fell into a state of decline for centuries. Their final mistake was to enter World War I on the side of the Central Powers, which ultimately lost. After this, control of the area was assumed by the Allied Powers, which were given the right to take over forts throughout the land.  Of course, they claimed that they had no interest in dividing up the former Ottoman Empire or placing it under military control, but many realized that this had been a goal of the allied nations from the very beginning of the war.  France was the first nation to occupy the land when they sent a brigade to Istanbul in 1918 and they were very soon followed by Britain, Italy, and Greece.  Before long, the Straits and Izmir were also under occupation and many areas would follow.  But even as the occupations increased, trouble broke out among Greece and Italy, both of whom wanted the same land.  Meanwhile, resistance was growing amongst the Turks and had been ever since they lost the war.  Ottoman officials were forming secret Outpost Societies in the hopes of both actively and passively standing against the Allies.  Their munitions and efforts were mainly located in Central Anatolia, which had little Allied presence.  But when the Greeks ventured into Western Anatolia in 1919, the Turks finally struck back, firing at the Greek standard bearer at the front of their troops.  The Greeks struck back, killing and wounding unarmed Turkish soldiers and citizens alike.  In the aftermath, a Turkish military hero named Mustafa Kemal rose up to lead the rebels.  And when in 1920, their sultan signed the Treaty of Sevres which gave some parts of the empire independence, but put others in the hands of various Allied powers, it only boosted Kemal's popularity.  The fighting continued, with the Turks rising up against the Armenians, the French, and the Greeks.  It lasted until the final Turkish victory over the Greeks at the Battle of Dumlupinar on August 30 of 1922.  By October of that year, the Armistice of Mudanya formally ended the conflict.  The Sultanate was done away with and Mustafa Kemal founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and also served as its president, helping bring the las remnants of the Ottoman Empire into modern times.

You may remember I've mentioned another Turkish holiday, Republic Day, on here before. That particular celebration is held to commemorate the formation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.  So these two observances certainly have their similarities.  I'm not sure which is more popular, but Victory Day is marked with parades and marches by the armed forces, the most important of which is held in Ankara.  And I suppose, if you're really proud of your nation, why not celebrate not only its foundation, but also the day of its final victory over its oppressors.  In fact, that might be worth following here in the United States.  After all, who wouldn't like another justifiable holiday added to our calendar - I know I would!  Sounds to me like the Turks have the right idea with their two very important patriotic holidays.

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