Thousands march to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers

Thousands of people marched on Jan. 8 in the eastern province of Kars to commemorate the tens of thousands of Ottoman soldiers killed in the Sarıkamış operation during World War I.

The starting point of the march was Kızılçubuk, where the ill-fated operation against the Russian Caucasus Army began.

The walk marks the 103rd anniversary of the 1914 operation, in which nearly 90,000 Ottoman soldiers froze to death.

The crowd, made up of people of all ages, gathered under a banner reading "Türkiye Marches with Martyrs."

They began the 5-kilometer walk to the memorial area in biting cold weather.

Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık and Deputy Defense Minister Şuay Alpay were among those who took part in the march.

"Sarıkamış, where the sons of the homeland came from all over Anatolia, is the place where our beloved nation started the re-existence movement," Yanık said, speaking at the ceremony held after the march.

"I commemorate all our soldiers who fought tirelessly for the unity and solidarity of our country and fell martyrs in the Allahuekber Mountains and all over Türkiye with respect and condolences."

Taking the stage after Yanık, Kasapoğlu stated, "Considering the conditions of that day, we feel in our bones what a great spirit, what a great belief and discipline our soldiers had."

"I commemorate with mercy and gratitude all our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their homeland, nation and independence."

The battle resulted in a Russian victory. The Ottomans employed a strategy that demanded highly mobile troops capable of arriving at specified objectives at precise times.

The Ottoman troops, ill-prepared for winter...

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