On Sunday, Turkey is set to mark the 103rd anniversary of a World War I battle in Çanakkale, home to eponymous straits also known as the Dardanelles. Better known in the English-speaking world as the Battle of Gallipoli, it ended with victory by the Ottoman forces and eventually paved the way for the country's war of independence in the ensuing years.
Ceremonies were scheduled to be held in the city and at sprawling cemeteries where fallen soldiers from all across the world are buried. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other high-ranking officials are expected to attend the ceremonies. During the remembrance, the next stage in construction of a bridge spanning the strait will also be inaugurated. The Çanakkale Straits was a critical waterway for the Allies during the war as it is a gateway between the Black Sea and Aegean Sea. March 18 is the day when the primary assault by the Allied troops started after a naval attack by the British and French navies in February 2015. Despite heavy casualties, outnumbered Ottoman troops managed to fend off the Allied forces in what is viewed as the last major victory for the collapsing empire.
The victory delayed the eventual invasion of the country by the Western powers, and the resilience of outgunned troops also inspired Mustafa Kemal, a commander in the Çanakkale campaign of the Ottomans, to lead the War of Independence a few years later. Mustafa Kemal, later given the last name of Atatürk - Father of Turks - would go on to found the Republic of Turkey after he managed to mobilize the public to take up arms against an enemy invasion.