From Atatürk to Anzac Day
The seventh of January 1916 was a day of great celebrations in the small Turkish village near Ankara where the Allied prisoners of war from Gallipoli were being housed. ‘Flags flying, bands playing, processions in galore …’ one Australian prisoner wrote in his diary. ‘The explanation given was “The English have been driven off the Dardanelles”. We soon found out it was not bluff made in Turkey this time.’ 1 Similar celebrations were doubtless occurring across the entire country as news of the victory spread.
In İstanbul, the newspapers of 21 December had carried the news: ‘There are no more soldiers in Ar1 Burnu, and Anafartalar. Our forces are now at the shore and have taken a lot of enemy ammunition, tents, guns, etc.’ Over the next few days more details were printed as they became known: ‘After their futile attacks to break the heroic Turkish defence the British had to escape taking advantage of heavy fog during the evening.’ Finally, on 10 January, an İstanbul paper carried the headline people had waited many months to read: ‘The whole Gallipoli peninsula is now free from the enemy. They are driven out of Seddulbahir [sic].’ 2
The Ottoman armies had indeed won a memorable victory by repelling both the navies and the armies of two of Europe's most powerful nations. As self-proclaimed Minister for War, Enver Pas¸a readily accepted the accolades that come with victory. One such offering was an exquisite, fine silk rug specially woven in his honour. The rug, which measures approximately 1 m × 1.5 m, depicts aerial views of the peninsula battlefield with two insert panels showing several of the forts that successfully guarded the seaway. Woven into the design are the inscriptions: