Celebrations mark the anniversary of the Turkish army’s resounding victory over the Greek occupiers in 1922.
Turkey is commemorating the definitive defeat of the Greek occupying army at the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922 on the occasion of the 101st anniversary of Victory Day.
Under the direction of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, the Turkish Armed Forces began the Great Offensive on August 26 and ended it on September 18 of the same year.
In accordance with the terms of the Armistice of Mudros, the Entente Powers, also known as the World War I winners, arrived in what is now Turkey in 1919 and occupied a sizable portion of the country.
British soldiers entered Urfa, now Sanliurfa, and Maras, now Kahramanmaras, further to the east, as well as Samsun and the town of Merzifon, Amasya in the Black Sea region, while French troops took control of the area around Adana, now in southern Turkey.
The Italians, meanwhile, occupied large tracts of the Mediterranean coastline, including Antalya and other southwestern Anatolian cities.
On May 15, 1919, the Greek army landed in Izmir with the permission of the Entente Powers, triggering what would become a full-fledged uprising and campaign against the rule of occupying forces in the country.
When faced with no other option, Turks united to fight the invaders as the Kuvayi Milliye, or National Forces.
In 1920, as the Turkish Army moved to the Western Front and the occupiers concentrated their repressive policies on the Turkish leadership, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, or parliament, was established in Ankara.
The following year, Turkish troops would repel Greek forces as they approached the parliament from a distance of 70 kilometers.
On August 26, 1922, commander-in-chief Ataturk launched the Great Offensive to drive out the occupiers after roughly a year of planning. He advanced to the west and led the battle with his most important generals, including Fevzi Cakmak.
Artillery fire opened the offensive at dawn as Turkish soldiers advanced and took Tinaztepe, Belentepe, and Kalecik Sivrisi in the vicinity of Afyonkarahisar, which they would liberate on August 27.
On the night of August 29, the commanders made a situation assessment and agreed to act immediately and decisively.
Ataturk ordered the Turkish army to move to the western Kutahya region on August 30, dealing a decisive blow to Greek troops in Anatolia.
Following the victory, Ataturk, Cakmak and Inonu set out to expel the remaining Greek soldiers from Anatolia with an offensive on the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast and liberated Izmir on September 9.
Ataturk was present at the Martyr Sancaktar Soldier Monument’s groundbreaking ceremony on August 30, 1924, two years later.
He said in a speech that is forever etched in the annals of history, “The Turkish nation has once again engraved this truth in the bosom of history with a steel pen with the victory it has won, the power it showed, and its will.”