'Martyrs' Memorial March': Turks commemorate Battle of Sarikamish

Posted on centenarynews.com on 05 January 2014
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Thousands of Turks are taking part in a march which commemorates the First World War Battle of Sarikamish.

This is the second year the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports has organised the march – which is expected to attract more than fifteen thousand young people – in honour of “the sons of this land who died in their thousands”.

The Battle of Sarikamish occurred during December 1914 – January 1915 between the Ottoman and Russian empires on the Caucasus Front.

Resulting in a Russian victory, the Ottomans suffered severe casualties. This was in part due to their lack of preparedness and equipment to cope with the harsh winter conditions, with thousands of soldiers dying from hypothermia as they crossed the Allahüekber Mountains.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports describes the losses – particularly at the Allahüekber Mountains – as a “renowned feat of martyrdom by the Turkish military” and quotes casualty figures of 60,000 – 90,000. (The term "martyrdom" should also be considered in the context of the Ottoman Empire declaring jihad or 'holy war' against France, Russia and the United Kingdom in November 1914).

The ministry states that it is “our responsibility to remind our country of these losses”.

Other treks are being organised across Turkey’s 81 provinces and Cyprus.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports wants “all members of society” to appreciate the “Sarikamish spirit” and that the commemorative march is a “meaningful journey” which will allow Turks to connect with their national history and their ancestors.

Source: Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports

Images courtesy of the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News