Ankara (UNA-OIC) – Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of Türkiye’s Victory Day, which commemorates the resounding defeat of the occupying Greek army at the hands of Turks in the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922.
The Great Offensive — one of the greatest military victories in history — was launched by the Turkish Armed Forces on Aug. 26, 1922 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Türkiye, and ended on Sept. 18 that year.
According to information compiled by Anadolu Agency, in 1919, the victors of World War I — also known as the Entente Powers — landed in present-day Türkiye, occupying large swathes of land based on the provisions of the recently signed Armistice of Mudros.
As British, French, Italian and Greek warships anchored in the Turkish Straits, French troops took over the region around Adana — now in southern Türkiye. British soldiers entered Urfa and Maras further east as well as Samsun and Merzifon in Black Sea region. The Italians occupied large strips of the Mediterranean coastline including Antalya and other southwestern Anatolian cities.
On May 15, 1919, the Greek army landed in Izmir with the permission of the Entente Powers, triggering what would become a full-fledged uprising and campaign against the rule of occupying forces in the country.
Forming the National Forces (Kuvayi Milliye) as a means of armed resistance against the invaders, Turks knew that there were only two possible choices – either surrender to the occupation forces or fight against them.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly was launched in Ankara in 1920, as the occupiers focused their repressive policies on Ataturk and his colleagues and the Turkish Army moved to the western front. The following year, Turkish soldiers would repel Greek forces that advanced within 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) of the young parliament.
After roughly one year of preparation, Commander-in-Chief Ataturk launched the Great Offensive on Aug. 26, 1922 to expel the enemy.
Moving further west, he commanded the battle with top commanders Fevzi Cakmak and Ismet Inonu.
At dawn, the offensive began with artillery fire, and Turkish soldiers pushing forward seized Tinaztepe, Belentepe and Kalecik Sivrisi near the town Afyonkarahisar, which the Turkish army would seize on Aug. 27.
On the night of Aug. 29, the commanders made a situation assessment and agreed to act immediately and conclude the attack in a short time.
Ataturk ordered the Turkish army to move on to western Kutahya on Aug. 30 in a decisive blow to the Greek troops in Anatolia.
Following the victory, Ataturk, Cakmak and Inonu set to sweep the remaining Greek soldiers out of Anatolia in an offensive on the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast.
“Armies, your first goal is the Mediterranean. Forward!” Ataturk ordered the army, which would move out from western Kutahya on Sept. 1.
On Aug. 27, the Turkish Army liberated Afyonkarahisar from the Greek army, Kutahya on Aug. 30, and Izmir on Sept. 9.
Two years later on Aug. 30, 1924, Ataturk attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Martyr Sancaktar Soldier Monument.
Addressing the audience, he said: “The Turkish nation has once again engraved this truth in the bosom of history with a steel pen with the victory it has won, the power it showed and its will.”