Remembering the Gallipoli campaign: Turkish official military historiography, war memorials and contested ground
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AbstractThe Gallipoli campaign occupies an important place in modern Turkish history, a position reinforced by the release of new publications and the construction of additional monuments to mark the centenary of the conflict. However, these are comparatively recent developments as, just decades ago, the Gallipoli campaign was not regarded as significant to the foundation of the Turkish Republic nor as a powerful source of national identity. While popular Turkish remembrance and commemoration of the campaign began with the wartime propaganda and myth-making of the period, the Turkish War of Independence proved more significant to the national consciousness, inspiring its own particular myths and legends. Yet, with the passage of time, official military histories, personal war narratives, the construction of the Dardanelles Martyrs’ Memorial in the early 1950s and the official campaign of the 1980s to create a more articulated Gallipoli history proved instrumental in establishing Gallipoli as crucial to the foundation narrative. Alongside this, recent political and sociocultural developments have also seen the creation of an alternative Islamic myth (with the controversy that accompanies it) while reinforcing the omnipresence of Gallipoli in Turkish history and national consciousness.