Entertainment Historians recall the Bosniaks who fought at Canakkale

Historians recall the Bosniaks who fought at Canakkale

Troy wars images, Çanakkale, Horse Of Troy
Troy wars images, Çanakkale, Horse Of Troy

(AA) – Although the Battle of Canakkale, currently being commemorated in Turkey on Martyrs’ Day, is often perceived as a battle between Turks and the Anzac forces, many thousands from the Balkans also fought in the devastating conflict.

Over 15,000 Bosniaks, mostly from the Sandzak Region on the border between Serbia and Montenegro went to Canakkale to fight in the ranks of the Ottoman army to defend Islam and the empire in 1915.

Professor of History at the University of Novi Pazar, Dr. Recep Skrijelj, says that a large number of young men from Sandzak plus Muslims from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria wanted to go to Canakkale to fight alongside the Ottomans.

“Volunteers wished to participate in the battle to defend other remaining lands of the Ottoman Empire. Many of the participants from the region were killed in the Battle of Canakkale while some of them were placed in the Marmara and Aegean region on the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; some returned to Sandzak,” explains Skrijelj.

Ahmet Carovac, a nephew of Canakkale battle veteran Recep Carovac, said that he had the honor to be at the ceremony to mark the 99th anniversary of the Canakkale Battle.

“I wish to go there with my all heart. People who went there to defend the Ottoman Empire were patriotic. My uncle used to told me that despite all the difficulties people had a great desire and love to defend Islam,” says Carovac.

Ahmet keeps his uncle’s pocket knife and shows it proudly when referring to his uncle’s participation at Canakkale.


-Soldier recruitment center in Novi Pazar

Documents on the war held in the “Ras” Archive in Novi Pazar’s cultural center for Bosniaks in Serbia and the historical region of Sandzak, have sparked high interest from the public on this centenary year.

“Documents show that a recruitment center was established in Novi Pazar. There was intense demand from the public to join the battle. Imams and the then-mayor provided assistance for the volunteers,” says archivist Dr. Hivzo Golos, stressing that the recruitment process and Bosnian ethnology are clearly seen in the photos from that period.

“That time all the major powers acted to overthrow the Ottoman Empire. In that period, people who wanted to survive, to preserve their religion and their state, volunteered to defend the Ottoman Empire,” says Golos referring to the words of his Canakkale battle veteran grandfather.

“Sandzak soldiers experienced great difficulties during the war but fought bravely, struggled with hunger in the cold,” says Golos, adding that his father often spoke of the memories of his grandfather.

Thousands of people from 60 countries are preparing to go to Turkey’s western Canakkale province in April as part of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 battle in the Canakkale (Dardanelles) Strait, a major event in world history.

The victory against the Allied Forces in the Canakkale Strait gave Turkey a massive moral boost that enabled it to wage a war of independence and eventually, in 1923, form a republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

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