Turkey celebrates anniversary of historic Battle of Manzikert

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Three days of celebrations for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt) began on Tuesday. They are expected to culminate in a grand ceremony on Wednesday with an event attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other dignitaries. Events, which also include the commemoration of fallen soldiers of the Seljuk army, are taking place in the eastern Turkish province of Muş, where the battle took place, in the present-day district of Malazgirt and in the province of Bitlis where the The Turkish army was encamped before the battle. in 1071 against the Byzantine forces.

The ceremonies are taking place amid strict measures against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited participation in last year’s events. Social distancing and mandatory mask rules are in place at the venue. In Malazgirt, a parade was held and other events focused on a national park where a yurt representing the place where Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan stayed before the battle was erected. A concert of Ottoman military music (successors of Seljuk rule in Anatolia) kicked off the events. The park is also home to other yurts where exhibits on Seljuk and Turkish history are presented, as well as exhibits on Turkish culture and crafts. During the celebrations, teams will compete in traditional sports in various tournaments of horse archery, cirit (the ancient Turkish sport of mounted javelin throw) and horse racing.

An aerial view of yurts set up for the celebrations in Ahlat, Bitlis, eastern Turkey, August 25, 2021. (İHA PHOTO)

A similar venue with yurts has been created in the Ahlat district of Bitlis, where a youth complex was opened near the event venue last year.

The exact location of the battlefield is not known; however, a group of researchers are currently working in Malazgirt to find him and recently discovered battle remains in a large field.

August is considered a “month of victories” in Turkish history and the Battle of Manzikert was the first of these. This changed the fate of the Turks in Anatolia, dealt a blow to Byzantine rule and ultimately led to calls for a new crusade against Muslims.

As Sultan Alp Arslan, one of the most successful rulers of the Seljuks, made territorial gains in present-day Syria and present-day eastern Turkey, the Byzantine army led by Emperor Romanos IV decided to l ‘Stop. The Seljuk army was outnumbered by the massive forces of the Byzantines, but military tactics finally gave the upper hand to the Turkish side, which managed to defeat the enemy and capture the emperor. The battle demonstrated that the dominance of the nomadic Turkish tribes evolved into small states was here to stay in Anatolia. About two centuries after the battle, one of these tribes founded the Ottoman Empire, which captured the last Byzantine stronghold in 1453 and permanently made Turkey a homeland for the Turks.


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