Çanakkale cannot be trespassed, Mankind will not fall


We are presenting an assessment of Prof. Dr. Kudret BÜLBÜL Dean Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University regarding the matter...        


Çanakkale cannot be trespassed, Mankind will not fall

There are many very important incidents in the history of countries that affect their destiny. Sometimes these incidents can change the World history. The War of Çanakkale whose 103rd Anniversary we are commemorating right now is such a war that had changed destiny of the World.

Some of the objectives in this war were to occupy Istanbul, exclude Ottoman State and send aid to Czarian Russia through the sea. For this purpose the Allied States harboured in Çanakkale with hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the countries like England, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India. They attacked with all their might to be able to cross through the sea. After failing to cross they tried to overcome defences with their offences on land. However they found the Ottoman Army against them who was defending its country with the power of its faith despite all kind of technical insufficiencies.

The war began in February 1915 and ended in December of the same year with hundreds of thousands of dead, missing, prisoners and wounded leaving behind it. Causing to experience perhaps one of the greatest pains and sufferings of the history. With so many wailings for the dead. Because several soldiers had been martyred in the previous war therefore young children had been recruited for this war. For this very reason this war is also known as “the war of fifteen year olds”. The folk song “O fifteen year old fifteen year old, the roads of Tokat are stony, fifteen year olds are coming, eyes of the girls are tearful” is the song of this war.

The youths from several high schools had participated in the war that year. Galatasaray, Izmir and high school I graduated from, Konya High School founded during Sultan Abdulhamid era could not give any graduates that year because the senior classes had all gone to the war. 

Akif in his poem titled “To the martyres of Çanakkale” describes the war and our matryres like this:

The Old World, The New World, All human nations

Are bleeding like sand, like a storm, in great crowds

World’s seven seasons are also facing

You are looking together with Australia: Canada!

Faces are different, languages, skins of different colors;

A simple incident is there: Brutalities are equal


O soldier fallen on land, for these lands!
It will be a worth if an ancestor descends from the heavens and kisses your clean forehead
What a great you are that your blood is saving Tawhid...
Only the lions of the War of Bedr were that glorious


Although there are no official records, it is said that the Ottoman Army gave 250 thousand martyres in the war. These martyres are generally our educated people going to high schools, madarassas and universities.  The martyrdom of so many educated people created very big hardships later on.

The martyes of the Ottoman Army were from many different countries because they were from within the Ottoman borders of that time or they had voluntarily joined the army from elsewhere. Besides the provinces that remained within the borders of present day Turkey, there are martyres and participants from the Balkan nations, the Middle Eastern nations and the Caucasus.

Here I want to share what I have heard from the Kosovar Elderly İlyas Uncle. Many soldiers from his village also participated in the War of Çanakkale. However all of those soldiers were martyred in the war except 3 of them. While returning to their village the soldiers were mournful and bewildered about what should they tell the other villagers. Because there were tearful mothers, fathers, friends, relatives, chidren and loved ones of the martyred soldiers waiting for them with longing. They did not want to suddenly enter the village breaking their hopes and face them with their desperation, pain and wailings. For this reason, they decided to enter the village with certain intervals. As the first veteran soldier entered the village, all of the villagers asked the whereabouts of the others as expected. The soldier said “they will come, they will come”. A week later another soldier entered the village. He too gave the same answer to the hearts waiting with curiosity, yearning and longing: “They will come, they will come”. The last veteran did the same thing. Hence the villagers gradually prepared themselves for the painful and mournful consequence.

Basically the War of Çanakkale is a rersistance of the oppressed nations displayed against imperialism in the ranks of the Ottoman Army. Despite all of its technological superiority the oppressed nations of our region altogether did not give a way to imperialism. During the War of Çanakkale and the Turkish War of Independence the South Asian Muslims like the Muslims of India and Afghanistan did not withhold their assistance. In this respect the Çanakkale Saga is the symbol of hope for the mankind. Today again the Global foci of evil are involved in similar occupation activities in so many geographies. Çanakkale is one of the most recent, most painful and most impressive lessons of the failure of the imperialsts where they could not achieve their objectives because of the united action of the oppressed nations and their resistance against all kind of occupying movements. This is the statement that only a united struggle can withstand the “disintegrate, divide and rule” politics.

Definitely a resistance against all kind of imperialist attacks is valuable. Besides the method of resistance and discourse is also important. While resisting current imperialist attacks we are unfortunately witnessing progression of hatred/otherization discourse. It is hard for the people not to hate their occupiers and not to use this discourse. Thus from this point of view, the War of Çanakkale and the developments after that are of a guiding nature for us.

Because they do not have many wars in their history, the countries like Australia and New Zealand have also approached the War of Çanakkale from the standpoint of nation creation. Whereas we are a nation who are not the others and have not created the others from any war, victory and defeat in our history. We are one of the rare nations who did not need any other to become a nation in the World and who could become a nation in this framework without any other. The same is true for Çanakkale. Despite our 250 thousand martyres, tens of wailings, pains and losses we have not created any others from Çanakkale. The words of Atatürk said for the Anzacs beautifully summarize our view of this kind of incidents and the perspective of our history and civilization: “O mothers who have sent your children from far away countries for war, stop your tears. Your children are in our saddle. They are resting in peace and they will sleep in peace. After giving their lives on these lands, they have become our children now”.

Creating a hatred discourse against imperialist attacks and otherization bothers us even further and impairs our ability to speak. Yes it is very difficult. However how well we embellish ourselves with the values of our civilization against this kind of attacks our hope in the name of mankind will increase to that degree against all kind of imperial attacks. Even though imperialist attacks are successful in the short term if we do not create the others and have an approach without an impaired speech, mankind will not fall and oppression will not be constant. The colonial efforts focused on interest who see legitimacy in all kind of exploitation and occupation will lose sooner or later. 

We presented an assessment of Prof. Dr. Kudret BÜLBÜL, Dean Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University regarding the matter...


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