Yanikdag, Yucel: politics of Gallipoli – Turkish view

Yanikdag, Yucel

The battle of Gallipoli: the politics of remembering and forgetting in Turkey‘, Comillas Journal of International Relations [Madrid], 2, 2015, pp. 99-115

Differences in the competing versions of public memory for the Battle of Gallipoli have become more pronounced as we approach 18 March 2015 (in Turkey 18 March, the naval battle, marks the anniversary, not the landing of 25 April). For many decades, the official nationalist narrative portrayed Gallipoli as a “rehearsal” for or even as part of the War of Independence (1919-1922).

The victory was due almost solely to the military genius of Mustafa Kemal. This public memory might have been dominant for decades, but competing versions also developed.

This article will largely deal with what can be called the Islamized or “religionised” memory of Gallipoli. For some who adhere to this view, Gallipoli is where the “Turkish” soldier stopped the last Crusaders. For others, their version of the battle does not include Mustafa Kemal.

Yet, both sides have something in common as they prepare to celebrate the victory. Both the nationalist and the Islamist memories ignore the possible connections to another event which is remembered on 24 April, the day before the Entente landing in Gallipoli: the order given for the deportation of Anatolian Armenians. The “celebration” for one is likely to overwhelm the remembrance and mourning of the other. (abstract)

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