How Atatürk Honored the Veterans of Gallipoli

The battle of Gallipoli was of one of the bloodiest of the Great War, particularly so for British colonial units from Australia and New Zealand. Churchill’s plan to secure the Dardanelles was thwarted by stout Turkish troops and a brilliant young commander named Mustafa Kemal. As Ed West relates, that same man, now named Ataturk, Turkey’s great modernizer, would later write an open letter to the people of Australia that contained these moving words:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives; You are now living in the soil of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom,  and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

6 thoughts on “How Atatürk Honored the Veterans of Gallipoli”

  1. I agree although there are people who would prefer angry nationalism as the way to honor veterans and remember the dead.
    Anyway, it is noteworthy that after Churchill was foiled by Mustafa “Attaturk” Kemal his support of the Whites in the Russian Civil War was foiled by Lev Davidovich “Trotsky” Bronstein, and years earlier he had debated Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens on the justice of the Boer War. By the time he became a leader in the Second World War he had already made famous foes.

  2. Nice sentiments, I suppose, but if my son had died at Gallipoli I’m not sure they would make me feel much better. In fairness, it might not be the Turks I would be angry at.

  3. Beautifully put.

    Sometimes countries are rewarded with great leaders who keep our common humanity in mind rather than being blinded by the lust for power or blinded by ideological or religious self-righteousness.

Comments are closed.