Turkish forces’ 1921 victory in the Battle of Sakarya was a turning point for the Turkish people’s millennium-long presence in Anatolia, said the nation’s president on Monday.
“The victory in the Battle of Sakarya culminated a year later with the Aug. 30 victory and reached its final goal when the enemy (Greeks) were pushed into the (Aegean) sea in Izmir on Sept. 9,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the victory of the Battle of Sakarya, a clash between Greek and Turkish forces in the Black Sea region.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, compared the fierce battle to Armageddon, said Erdogan.
“The story of the Battle of Sakarya once again reminds us of the sacrifices that were made for our independence, which we should never forget,” he added.
Comparing Turkey’s present-day challenges to the War of Independence, Erdogan said: “The Republic of Turkey will reach its destination in the same way … by overcoming many obstacles at home and abroad.”
“The will of the nation is above any kind of social engineering, any terrorist group, or any coup attempt, as we've shown the entire world,” he said.
“As we approach 2023 (the Turkish Republic’s centenary), we are working with greater confidence for our future, and we will achieve even greater things,” he explained.
"Since the War of Independence, our nation has shown great wisdom, and our nation has always chosen those who are right for our country and for them,” he added.
Erdogan also paid tribute to Ataturk and his fellow "fighters, martyrs, and veterans" of the Battle of Sakarya and the War of Independence.
The battle took place on the banks of the Sakarya River, near modern Turkey’s capital, Ankara. The battleground, Polatli, is only 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Ankara.
After the battle, parliament awarded Ataturk the rank of army field marshal as well as the title of Gazi (honored veteran) for his efforts and victory on the battlefield.
2023 centenary goals
While some may argue that Turkey’s 2023 centenary goals are part of an ordinary development program, this is not the case, said Erdogan.
“At this point in the history of the republic, we have achieved the most ambitious and courageous changes."
"By raising our democracy and development standards to the level of the most advanced countries in the world, we have succeeded in reopening our civilization, history, and cultural horizons, which have been under siege for centuries," he added.
In Turkey, he said, every industrialist who lays stone on stone, produces, exports, and provides employment for our people has a place of honor.
"We will continue to stand by all our investors who believe in Turkey's potential and trust our economy," he said.
He also underlined that the country's fleet of unmanned air vehicles, recently upgraded with the addition of the Akinci UAV, will be number one in the world with the introduction of Turkish unmanned combat aircraft systems./agencies