24 April Tuesday

The 57th Infantry Regiment: Fallen heroes of the Battle of Gallipoli

The Battle of Gallipoli was an all or nothing situation for the Ottomans: They could lose everything in one day or survive to the next During this defining moment of the Great War, the heroic actions of the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Ottoman Empire are still remembered fondly after more than a century

As part of the "Çanakkale National Consciousness Camp”, tens of thousands of youth commemorate the martyrs of the Gallipoli Campaign, especially the 57th Regiment, with the "Fidelity March to the 57th Regiment," which they organized on April 25, under the auspices of the IMM and feel proud with the heroism of their ancestors.

The 57th Infantry Regiment of the Ottoman army, who fought against the allies in the Gallipoli Campaign when Lt. Col. Mustafa Kemal issued the order, "I am not ordering you to attack, I order you to die!" had their names written in gold letters and were among the cornerstones of the war, which took place 103 years ago.

During the heated times of World War I, the allied troops who planned to land after failing in passing the Dardanelles took the action to realize their plans in the region of Arıburnu on the morning of April 25, 1915.

The 19th Division Cmdr. Lt. Mustafa Kemal sent the 57th Infantry Regiment of the division with an artillery battery and cavalry troop to the region after some gunshots were heard in Arıburnu on this day.

Many soldiers in the 57th Regiment, struggling against the eight full-fledged enemy troops together with supporting units, were martyred and they made history with their heroism, going to their death on purpose.

English Senior Officer Gen. Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton told about the attack of the 57th Regiment and other troops, who advanced on with the order of Mustafa Kemal without any hesitation, "Mountains continue to bear Turks." This sentence shows the fight that Turkish soldiers put up in those years.

"Our distance between opposite trenches is 8 meters, that is, death is certain. Those in the first trench die all and the ones in the second trench take their place. However, do you know how they are cold-blooded and trust in God? They see those who die and know that they will die in three minutes. Nevertheless, they do not hesitate even for a moment," said Mustafa Kemal about the soldiers who gave their lives to protect their country in this battle. The 57th Regiment and other troops were the basis of the defense.

The heroism and success of the 57th Regiment are being told among the thousands of heroes who wrote the legend of "Gallipoli Could not Be Passed" even if it has been 103 years, and the martyrs' cemetery of this regiment on the historical Gallipoli Peninsula is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. The ones who visit the place share their gratitude and pray.

Tens of thousands of youth commemorate the martyrs of the Gallipoli Campaign, especially the 57th Regiment, with the "Fidelity March to the 57th Regiment," which they organize on April 25, and feel proud with the heroism of their ancestors. Associate professor Burhan Sayılır from Anadolu University, who studies on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's principles and the Republic History, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the 57th Regiment came to the region with the order of Lt. Col. Mustafa Kemal and showed heroism in the defense of it until the end of the war.

Implying the 57th Regiment was established between 1892 and 1893 and took place in the Balkan Wars, Sayılır said, "It was established in World War I again and was in charge in Gallipoli. After Gallipoli, Galicia, Syria and Palestine theaters came. In the Turkish War of Independence, it established as a reserve force. It joined some combats in the Aegean region, as well."

Mentioning the regiment comprised of 49 officers and 3,638 soldiers in the Gallipoli War, Sayılır continued, "They had 2,288 rifles. When the struggle started, they took their place starting from April 25. They seriously succeeded, especially in the first two or three days. New soldiers came in the place of officers and soldiers who died during the war. Twenty-five officers were martyred in the whole war. It is a serious number but other soldiers even if their military rank is not same took the places of these officers. [A total of] 1,817 soldiers were martyred, as well. When we look at the general rate, half of the soldiers became martyrs. In fact, this is a great heroism. It will be wrong to leave the real heroism in the shadow, adding different stories or bending the truth."

Sayılır noted that the commander of the 57th Regiment was Hüseyin Avni Bey and after he was martyred Maj. Murat Bey took his place.

Later, Third Battalion's Cmdr. Ali Hayri Bey was the commander of the regiment. "All the names of these martyrs are written on the name list of the 57th Regiment. Names of 323 people are written on the stones on the ground, the rest is written on the pedestal under the memorial. These lists are the true ones. Visitors can see the real names in here," Sayılır stressed.

Professor Mithat Atabay, who is an academic at History Department in Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Faculty of Science and

Letters, also implied that the heroism of the 57th Regiment is still told with a great honor 103 years later. He added Hüseyin Avni Bey was martyred because of a shrapnel piece.

Explaining, the regiment had lost 2,274 soldiers before the Gallipoli Campaign, Atabay continued, "The casualty rate of the 57th Regiment is 61.7 percent when it is compared to the beginning. This rate nearly doubles the casualty rate in the Ottoman army. This shows that the soldiers of the 57th Regiment risked their lives and fought heroically."

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