Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I usually write on the U.S. military and oil. On the occasion of 25 April 2007, today, anniversary of ANZAC day, I make an exception.

Not because my wife is an Australian and I am a Turk. It is just because to remember how bad thing war was and still is.

My father is a Korean War veteran .He spent 2 years in Korea and lost many friends. He was lucky though. When I was doing my obligatory military service in Turkey it turned out that father of one of the guys in my troop was captured at Kunuri by North Koreans and had spent years in prison. A rather sad and long story.

Anyway, back to my father. Two years in Korea and yet the only thing I have heard from him until now is how he went there. Apparently it took over 2 months boat trip. And blank 2 years in Korea. Not a word. A smile appears on his face when he tells how many times he got sea sick but then that smile is followed by an empty look.

Now back to Gallipoli where thousands of ANZACs and Turks lost their lives. Right, there is no friendly war, otherwise it wouldn’t be called war. But there exists some wars in world history after which both sides honor each other for their bravery and courage, and for having a clean fight (surely there were many exceptions but in general it was clean). Gallipoli was one of them.

Here is what Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of Turkey (was commander of Turks in Gallipoli) said in 1934 about ANZACS.

“Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours…
you, the mothers,
who sent their sons from faraway countries
wipe away your tears;
your sons are now lying in our bosom
and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well."

Ataturk, 1934

Note that those words were to honor Anzacs, not the British soldiers. In fact I have never heard one nice word about British soldiers in Gallipoli.

Below is the order of Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal (commander of the 19th Turkish Division at Gallipoli) to his troops on April 25, 1915.

“I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die other troops and commanders can take our place”

Now let us travel into the future. How the war in Iraq will be remembered ?


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