25 April Thursday

Çanakkale National Consciousness Camp Ends with Fidelity March to the 57th Regiment

Çanakkale National Consciousness Scout Camp organized by both the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality(IMM) and the Scouting Federation of Turkey ended on Thursday.

As part of the "Çanakkale National Consciousness Camp”, tens of thousands of youth commemorated 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 Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) and feel proud with the heroism of their ancestors. The national awareness camp was held in the camp area of Kocadere, Eceabat in Çanakkale on 22-25 April.

Hundreds of Turkish youth walked the path leading to the theatre of one of the most decisive battles in the Gallipoli Campaign in the WWI in Turkey which changed the course of the war.

A total of 3,250 Turkish youth, as well as scouts from our neighboring countries, including Serbia, Georgia, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Syria, and Turkmenistan, participated in this event on Thursday.

The youth tracked the footsteps of their ancestors on a 10 km walk to Chunuk Bair (Conkbayiri) to re-enact the march by the 57th Regiment led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- founder of modern Turkey -- to the highlands, where Ottoman troops halted the advance of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, preventing defeat in the campaign.

A 104-meter long Turkish flag was carried by the marchers as 2019 marks the 104th anniversary of the Çanakkale Battles.

The Gallipoli Campaign served as a turnaround in favor of the Turks fighting in World War I against the then Allied Forces.

They started their attack on March 18 -- the day commemorated as Canakkale Naval Victory Day -- but the waters were filled with a network of mines laid by Ottoman vessels.

The events leading up to the momentous battle started in February 1915, when Britain and France decided to launch the Gallipoli campaign to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war as quickly as possible by reaching and capturing its capital, Istanbul.

On April 25, 1915, nine months into the World War I, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gelibolu peninsula. The troops were there as part of a plan to open Çanakkale Strait on Turkey's Aegean coast to Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten Istanbul.

The Allied Forces, however, encountered strong and courageous resistance from the Turks and the campaign turned out to be a costly failure. Tens of thousands of Turkish nationals and soldiers died, along with tens of thousands of Europeans, plus around 7,000 - 8,000 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders.

Victory against the Allied forces boosted the morale of the Turkish side, which then went on to wage a war of independence between 1919 and 1922, and eventually formed a republic in 1923 from the ashes of the old empire.

April 25 is also known as ANZAC Day in Australia -- a significant national holiday that honors the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought and died in Canakkale on Turkey's western coast in 1915.

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