Öztürk, Özgür: Gallipoli campaign: a symbolic battleground

Öztürk, Özgür

Gallipoli campaign: a symbolic battleground‘, Geliboluyuanlamak (Understanding Gallipoli), 24 June 2016

This is an essay from a Turkish MA student on the blog of Dr Tuncay Yilmazer, a Turkish specialist in the Ottoman Empire and the Great War.

This article argues that there is no static approach to the meaning of the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. There is a social dimension that shapes the understanding of the battle continually. The understanding of the battle changes when a rival political group champions the historiography of the battle. In Turkey, political groups, namely Kemalists and Islamists, contend over the meaning of the battle. This rivalry makes the history of Gallipoli Campaign a symbolic battle ground between the groups.

The author picks up many of the themes reiterated on the Honest History site.

History is the study of the past that presents a series of lessons that societies learn and make inferences to understand the world they live in today. Studying the past is like turning the light on in a dark corridor wherein societies walk through. Societies also resort to their historical heritages to prove their political cause. The past is studied to [inform] the politics of the present.

The author quotes Bauman, Carr and Collingwood, notes myths that are retold about the Ottoman experience of the campaign, and suggests that attempts by both sides to make political capital of the campaign are polarising Turkey today.


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