Honour is restored
While the soldiers slogged it out on Gallipoli, life went on much as normal in Istanbul. Censorship of the press was so tight that, as always seems the case in such circumstances, rumours were endemic. One minute a person might be told the Ottomans had smashed the Allied army; the next minute the very opposite story was heard. The Ottoman press was strictly controlled and, as all newsprint paper came from Germany, the Germans made sure it went only to those newspaper proprietors who supported them. As might be expected, the Ottoman authorities made the most of every victory and minimised any defeat. Thus, when the initial Allied landings were contained, the Ottoman Minister for War boldly announced that the enemy had been defeated. Victory flags were hung in İstanbul's main streets and squares, and the sultan was invested with the title Gazi (the Victor) at a ceremony in the magnificent Ayasofya (St Sophia) mosque.
Even after it was clear that the celebrations had been rather premature, life in the Ottoman capital went on much as before. The rich still ate at their fashionable restaurants and the city's famous Pera Palace Hotel continued to accept guests. Only when a British submarine sank a supply ship anchored in the Golden Horn in late May 1915 did the citizens of İstanbul appreciate how real and how near the war actually was. It was not long before military authorities were deliberately transporting the long lines of wounded soldiers at night through deserted streets rather than allow the civilian populace to see the reality of war.
At the front, the stalemate dragged on. Early in June, British and