President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Turkish people to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors as hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the eastern Muş province on Saturday to commemorate a key historical victory that opened the way for Turkish domination in Anatolia.
Addressing the crowd at the scene of the 1071 Battle of Malazgirt, also known as the Battle of Manzikert, Erdoğan said Turkey's ongoing fight against terrorist groups such as Daesh, the PKK, and the YPG is not very different from the historical confrontations of Turks against their enemies.
"Whoever Sultan Alp Arslan fought against, whoever (Seljuk) Sultan Kılıç Arslan fought against, whoever Gazi Mustafa Kemal fought against, we fought them on July 15," the president said in his speech.
It was there that Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines and captured their Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes in a victory seen as opening the gates of Anatolia to the Turks.
"The game is the same. The target is the same. The scenarios and actors are only different."
Erdoğan said the PKK, YPG, PYD and Daesh terror groups are pawns that are being used by foreign powers, without naming any countries specifically.
"Each of them is a pawn used by these powers, which have their eyes on our nation. Our struggle is not only against these pawns but also primarily against those who use them that way."
Erdoğan said the large-scale celebrations would now be celebrated annually as a major national event.