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Society & Stories

Şeyda explains Zafer Bayramı

Şeyda erklärt uns, was es mit diesem Feiertag auf sich hat

The streets are filled with red and white Turkish flags, portraits of the founder of the nation, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, hang in the windows. Students are excited because they don’t have to go to school today, workers can relax and the military parades and the air force display will soon be on television. In “Anıtkabir” (Atatürk’s mausoleum), a memorial service takes place. Every year on the 30th of August, the Turkish victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar during the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923) is celebrated.

The Battle of Dumlupınar (26-30 August 1922) near the city of Kütahya was the deciding moment in the independence war, which subsequently lead to the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

As the Ottoman Empire continued to lose power after their defeat together with the Germans in the First World War, present-day Turkey was separated into different occupation zones. The Greeks occupied the country in the west. Other parts of Turkey were to be controlled by the British, French, Italians and Armenians. Coming from the western coast, the Greeks were able to use the Ottoman’s weak state to continue on towards Ankara. It was here that the Turks had their first victory. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk drew up a new constitution, in which it read: “All violence comes from the people.” In doing so, he simultaneously made a stand again the monarchical regime of the Ottoman Empire. In further battles against the Greeks on the western front, all the people were obligated to defend their land with all means possible.

Decisive victorious steps against the Greek occupiers would be followed by a large offensive, during which Atatürk, as commander in chief, was able to break through the Greek lines near Afyon. At the same time, the enemy communication with Izmir, where the Greeks had their headquarters, was cut off. Without concrete commands from Izmir, the Greeks were no longer able to start secure offensives. The Turks then achieved victory during the drastic battle of Dumlupınar, and were able to push the Greeks out of Asia Minor for good. With this victory, not only the Greeks, but all occupying forces pulled back. A year after the “Day of Victory,” the Turkish Republic was founded on 29 October 1923.


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