ISTANBUL – Turkish leaders, soldiers and flag-waving spectators are commemorating a World War I campaign in which Ottoman armies held off an Allied expeditionary force, a bloody event that helps to underpin staunch nationalism in Turkey today.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday attended a ceremony in the Aegean port of Canakkale, near where troops under British command landed in 1915. While Turkey calls it the Canakkale battle, its former Allied adversaries, including Australia and New Zealand, refer to it as the Gallipoli campaign.
The March 18 anniversary marks the beginning of an Allied naval bombardment at the Dardanelles strait. Former Allied nations hold their own commemoration on April 25, the day in 1915 when troops landed after the bombardment. The Allied force failed to advance and withdrew in early 1916.