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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 April 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 APRIL 2018 9 HISTORY Troops are evacuated from Gallipoli with a large field gun. PHOTO: WALES AT WAR earthquake struck in 1354 destroying most of Gallipoli, he annexed the town. This was the first time a European territory was formally included in the Ottoman Empire, a blow that the Byzantine Empire and the Balkans did not recover from. John IV feebly protested. Inexplicably, the emperor somehow believed Orhan would play nice and return Gallipoli with some Turkish delights. He paid the price with his exile at the end of the year by John V. From this moment on, Ottomans had a staging post to expand into Europe. Within eight years they had taken the large city of Adrianople (Edirne). From there, the Ottomans in Europe would never, ever, be turned back. History shows us that without the resistance of the Hellenic Byzantines, most of Europe would have been attacked, potentially occupied. Yet Europe consistently has shown an ability to step on Hellenes. Just look at Mussolini, Nazi vermin, the 1925 Bulgarian border skirmishes, Cyprus, the emptying of Hellenes in Constantinople and the economic crisis. A big thank you to Europe for remembering the bravery of the Hellenes! The elite and powers of Europe really deserve a medal for their support. The Byzantine Empire in the 1300s, though somewhat weakened, was still a force. It remained viable and could have held out the Ottomans had they not conspired to destroy each other. The Civil War was one of many during the century. Ironically, Gallipoli was freed in 1366 with a mixture of forces loyal to the Pope, troops from Lesvos under Gallitusio and Byzantine troops led by the Patriarch of Constantinople. A decade later after yet another civil war, the Byzantine Empire again lost Gallipoli. This time, it was simply given over by Andronikus, the son of John V, to the Ottomans as a payment for services rendered. Andronikus' name means victory of a man. Perhaps stupidity of a man would have been more suitable. Despite the occupation of Gallipoli by the Ottomans, Gallipoli and indeed the entire peninsular retained its Hellenic character. When the British and Allies invaded Gallipoli, the area had a Christian majority. On 30 October at the harbour of Lemnos, the Allies signed an agreement with the Ottomans to allow them access and occupation of key ports and areas including Gallipoli and the Hellespont (Dardenelles). There were numerous Hellenes who volunteered and fought for the Allies during the Gallipoli invasion, with historian Socrates Tsourdalakis identifying 900 Hellenic volunteers who fought under Cretan leadership. There were a further 57 who fought as part of the Aussie contingent. Unfortunately, Gallipoli became a disaster for the Allies with the folly of such a poorly thought out strategy giving Ataturk his enhanced status, and of course the signal for non-Turks in the region to flee as the Allies were not exactly in a position to provide security. The Allies lost approximately 44,000 soldiers with 97,000 wounded, while the defenders lost over 87,000 with a further 165,000 wounded. On 4 August 1920, the Hellenic Republic regained Gallipoli and held it for two years. After almost six centuries, Gallipoli had returned to the Hellenes. However, the defeat of the Hellenic military in the Asia Minor war in September 1922, ended the last vestiges of Hellenic rule over Gallipoli and its surrounds. Gradually, the number of nonTurkish people declined for a variety of reasons! Next time we think of Gallipoli, we should of course honour our brave warriors from Australia, New Zealand and across many countries of the Commonwealth who fought valiantly against an inspired Turkish military. For all of these people, it has significant meaning. We should also remember our Hellenic history which finally came to a tragic end there in 1922. Gallipoli, was as much a part of the history of the Hellenes as it has been for those who fought at Gallipoli during the First World War. Gallipoli, it means plenty to many of us. * Billy Cotsis is the author of ‘From Pyrrhus to Cyprus: Forgotten and Remembered Hellenic Kingdoms, Territories, Entities & a Fiefdom’.
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