The Battle of Gallipoli, one of the important battles of the First World War, is also one of the significant turning points in the history of modern Turkey. The countries at war lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers in this battle where Mustafa Kemal who led the declaration of the Republic of Turkey in the following years first rose to prominence as a commander and those loss are still commemorated today through national and international ceremonies. The memorials built in Gallipoli for the soldiers from all sides at war who lost their lives in this war taking place in 1915 are still being visited today by local and foreign visitors. Furthermore, peace messages were given through a ceremony with the participation of many heads of state within the “100th Anniversary” ceremonies organized in 2015 and Prince Charles also participated and made a speech in this ceremony.
The battle taking place between 1915 and 1916 in the Dardanelles, which connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea, witnessed one of the important fronts of the First World War. The Dardanelles allowing the passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean via the Bosporus has always been a strategically important waterway throughout the history. The Dardanelles was also the passage to Istanbul by the sea, the capital of the Ottoman Empire which joined the war on the side of the Central Powers. Therefore, the Allied Powers led by the British Empire had to pass through the Dardanelles in order to defeat the Ottoman Empire. So, the sides at war were British, Australian, New Zealander and Indian troops of the Allied Powers led by the British Empire on one side and the Central Powers constituted by the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire on the other.
As a result, old researches show that 250 thousand soldiers lost their lives at each side at war and a total of half a million people died in the battle, but according to the recent researches carried out in Turkey, 57 thousand soldiers lost their lives from the Ottoman Empire. Because of the great amount of lost, the Battle of Gallipoli became one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, and from a military point of view, it resulted with the defeat of the British Empire and her failure to reach Istanbul. Furthermore, one of the most important results of the Battle of Gallipoli is the deep impression left by those lands on people’s memory. The great effort and the sacrifice shown by the soldiers in the Ottoman troops which were less powerful technologically in order to protect their motherland took an important place in the creation of the national identity of the Turkish Republic founded afterwards. Some events took place during the Battle of Gallipoli are still being told like an epic and given as examples in today’s Turkey.
During your journey into Turkey, if you head to the shores of the Aegean from Istanbul by land, you will certainly pass by Çanakkale. If you pass by Çanakkale, which is a tourist attraction all by itself with its beautiful shores and historical artifacts from Ancient Greece, you should definitely visit particularly the 40-meter (137 ft)-long Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial built for the commemoration of the Ottoman Soldiers who lost their lives and the Lone Pine Monument on which names of approximately six thousand Australian and New Zealender soldiers are written.