On March 18, Turkey honors the memory of the dead soldiers at the Battle of Canakkale, which began on March 18, 1915. This day is known as Memorial Day or Victory Day at Canakkale.
During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was part of the military bloc of the Central Powers. The geographical position of the Ottoman Empire allowed it to control the straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles connecting the Mediterranean and Black Seas. This situation greatly complicated trade, economic and military ties between Russia and its partners in the Entente bloc.
In general, the struggle for these straits has always been a stumbling block in relations between Russia and Turkey. And the reasons for this struggle, of course, were primarily economic factors.
With the outbreak of World War I and the strengthening of the Turkish fleet on the Black Sea, as a result of the breakthrough of German warships there, the balance of naval forces at the Black Sea Theater of War changed for a while. The possibility of these ships entering the Mediterranean communications of the Allies posed an additional threat to the Entente.
Already at the beginning of the war in England, there was a plan for the landing of allied forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula in order to seize and control the straits. The success of the operation at the same time led to the fact that the connection between the Ottoman Empire and its allies in the bloc of the Central Powers was violated. Turkey turned out to be isolated if successful, and the captured bridgehead allowed the start of an attack on the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The offensive in the north direction to the Balkans put Austria-Hungary in a difficult position, which in the East led a difficult confrontation with Russia. Fucked Bulgaria in this position simply could not go to join the bloc of the Central Powers. The plan was interesting, unreasonable and promised great advantages in the case of the success of the operation to land and capture the straits. One of the initiators and developers of the operation was Winston Churchill.
The first test actions against Turkish coastal fortifications in the Dardanelles were carried out by the English fleet in November 1914. They did not give serious results. But the conclusions of the warring parties were made different. The allies decided to make a breakthrough through the straits and capture of Istanbul by the forces of the fleet without a significant involvement of the ground forces, which turned out to be erroneous. The Turks strengthened coastal artillery with new positions, and also carried out additional mining of straits.
Intelligence received from the spy network confirmed the fears of the leadership of the Turkish army and navy that the Allies are preparing for a military operation in the Dardanells.
The Battle of Canakkale, known as the Dardanell operation or the Gallipoli battle, began in February 1915 and became one of the largest battles of the First World War. Different countries use different names, but they all have a geographical reference to the place where the events unfolded.
The Dardanell operation began with the concentration of the union squadron in the area of the Dardanella Strait and the shelling of the coastal forts of the Ottoman Empire. On March 18, 1915, the Entente forces attempted a general assault to break through the Dardanella, which, despite superiority in power, failed with heavy losses for the allies, and the operation itself dragged on for six months.
The Allied Command was forced to attract army forces to joint actions with the fleet and carry out a landing operation. For the Ottoman Empire, this battle became one of the most important in history, and the awareness of the power and command of the Turkish army of the seriousness of the possible consequences in the event of the victory of the Entente caused a decisive impulse of heroism and stamina among soldiers. All this saved the Ottoman Empire from defeat in 1915.
The victory at Canakkal for Turkey is really very symbolic and important. The severity of the confrontation is evidenced by the fact that testifies to the losses in the Dardanell operation on both sides. The Ottoman Empire lost over 180,000 people killed, wounded and missing. Allied losses amounted to over 160,000 people.
Today, memorials have been erected at the scene of the battles for the dead soldiers, and also for the soldiers from among the Entente troops. In 2015, marking the 100th anniversary of the battle, Turkish President and other senior officials of that state visited military graves and memorials. The memorial ceremony was attended by representatives of the highest circles of the countries that were part of the Entente block. Similar ceremonies with the participation of representatives of Turkish authorities are held annually in the country. In addition to the ceremony of laying wreaths in all mosques of the country, prayers are held in memory of the soldiers who died in the battle for their homeland.