Speech given by H.E. Ambassador Selçuk Ünal, for the occasion of the 101th Anniversary of the Victory Day

Lahey Büyükelçiliği 30.08.2023

Dear Commander of the Lands Forces,

Honourable Ambassadors,

Representatives of the Ministry of Defense,

Distinguished Military Attachés,

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the 101th anniversary on our Victory Day.

Ottoman Empire had lost the First World War in 1918. Immediately after, illegitimate occupations have started in violation of the armistice signed on 30 October 1918. To resist against these illegitimate occupations, Turkish people have started popular protests and then resistance. Several political congresses have been convened throughout Anatolia to liberate the occupied country. These congresses announced that future of the country can only be decided by the Turkish nation. The Turkish Grand National Assembly – the Parliament – was declared in Ankara after elections in every province. Chairman of the Parliament Mustafa Kemal informed the then Dutch Foreign Minister with a formal letter which we are proud to keep a copy at the Embassy. The War of Independence led by the commander-in-chief Mustafa Kemal Atatürk against the occupying powers lasted four years and paved the way to the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye in 1923.

So actually, the First World War for the Turks was not 4, but 8 years. To Turkish military historians, “the Great Turkish War of 10 Years” refers to a period between 1912 (Balkan Wars) and 1922. Only those interested in history and the Turks would remember that Istanbul was occupied for almost 4 years. That is why, we remember once again with deep gratitude our founding leader and first President of Republic of Türkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, all fallen heroes and those who fought at that time.

We also need to remember that those heroes have fought that war with a great inbalance, against all odds, very limited sources only to be filled in with an extraordinary human effort.

The counter attack had started on August 26th and the definitive war was fought and won on August 30th. The Turkish Army thereafter reached to and saved İzmir - at the Aegean coast - on September 9th. A distance of more than 500 km, on bare foot, where every inch of it was retaken by fierce fighting while moving forward - only in 10 days. It was also the last war in military history where cavalry was used in real terms.

Today, we are proud to say that the national production of our defense industry has come to an exemplary level. The movie we will see is a good example of it. Likewise, the Technofest started in Ankara today. I think all friends and foes see that. Türkiye is today the second biggest army in NATO. As a responsible member of the international community, Türkiye is using its national defence industry in fighting against instabilities and international terrorism in a neighbourhood and world going through challenges. In such an atmosphere, effective multilateralism and rules based international system is essential. We continue to support the solution of conflicts through negotiations based on UN parameters. We will continue to give priority to diplomatic solutions in all issues.

Thank you.

Değerli Arkadaşlar,

Malazgirt Zaferi ve 15 Temmuz’da milletimizin direnişi gibi 30 Ağustos bizim için çok önemli bir tarihtir.

Bu zaferin atalarımızca o tarihte ne kadar zorlu koşullarda kazanıldığını hepimiz biliyoruz. Bugün bizi, milli ve yerli savunma imkanlarımızı görseler eminim bizimle iftihar ederlerdi. Biz de bize bugünümüzü sağladıkları için onlarla gurur duyuyoruz.

İstiklal Savaşımızın önderi ve Türkiye Cumhuriyeti'nin banisi Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ve silah arkadaşları başta olmak üzere, bizim bugün bu kutlamayı yapabilmemizi sağlayan şehitlerimizi, gazilerimizi, o dönemde üniforma giyerek vatana, millete bağlılığını göstermiş, can almış, can vermiş tüm kahramanlarımızı ve bu vesileyle tüm şehit ve gazilerimizi saygı, minnet ve rahmetle anıyoruz.

Zafer Bayramımız kutlu olsun !


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