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Zafer Bayram – Victory Day in Turkey

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While the country known as Turkey has a history going back hundreds of years, had it not been for the Turks’ decisive victory during the Turkish War of Independence in a key action in the province of Kütahya, led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (now famously known as Atatürk, father of the Turks) in 1922, the name Turkey might not exist.

At the end of the First World War the Ottoman Empire was in decline. During 1918 and 1919 Turkey was occupied and partitioned by a number of different European countries. The English ruled Istanbul and Hatay (known as the Sanjak of Alexandretta) in the south east, was part of the French mandate of Syria. All parties intended to govern their own portion of the country regardless of Turkey’s right to have sovereignty over their own lands. However Atatürk, along with his loyal cohorts, began a series of actions now known as the Turkish War of Independence. Beginning in April 1919 the poorly equipped Turkish troops were marshalled into a force to combat an alliance including Greece, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. It was a desperate struggle but the decisive moment came when the Turks clashed with the Greeks in the Battle of Dumlupınar. The battle began on 25 August 1922 and lasted six days. On 30 August 1922 the Greeks were defeated and it was the beginning of the end for the allied occupation. By July of the next year the Allies had left Anatolia and the Republic of Turkey was declared on 29 October 1923.

Turkish Artillerymen before the Great Offensive August 1922

Every year Zafer Bayram, Victory Day, commemorates the bravery and triumph of the Turkish troops in the Battle of Dumlupınar in 1922 and the Turkish War of Independence in general. It’s an official public holiday in Turkey and many shops business and government buildings will be closed, although some may re-open in the afternoon.


Get more from your trip with these tips to help you plan before you come

For FLIGHTS I like to use Kiwi.com.

Don’t pay extra for an E-VISA. Here’s my post on everything to know before you take off.

However E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use Booking.com.

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

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