Terrorist groups in both Turkey and abroad are being used as “pawns” by power who “have set their eyes” on the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 26 in the Malazgirt district of the eastern province of Muş.
“[The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ is a pawn in this game. The [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK, the [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] YPG, the [Democratic Union Party] PYD, the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL] DAESH, and other terror organizations are all pawns. Each of them is a tool used by powers that have their eyes on our nation. Our struggle is not only against these tools, it is primarily against those who use these tools,” Erdoğan said at a ceremony to mark the 946th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt, the victory of Seljuk Sultan Alparslan against the Byzantine Empire on Aug. 26, 1071.
During the speech, he vowed to end terrorism in the country by following in the footsteps of Turkey’s ancestors.
“We will continue our struggle until terrorism ends. Nobody has the right to disturb our nation,” he said.
“Just like [Turkey’s vision for] 2023 and 2053, we’ve also determined 2071 [marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt] as a ‘horizon line,’” Erdoğan said.
Addressing thousands of people, he called on people to “better understand the meaning” of historic event like the Malazgirt victory, which is seen as opening Anatolia to Turkish settlement.
“We are proud of our ancestors who walked with glory, honor and victory into the center of Europe after entering Anatolia from Malazgirt, with the red flag in one hand and the green sanjak in the other,” Erdoğan said, referring to the Turkish flag and the standard of Islam.
Erdoğan referred to the legend that Sultan Alparslan went in front of his army before the battle and told them “if I become a martyr, then this white dress would be my burial robe. If we win, the future is ours.”
“This victory gained our people a new homeland and a new future,” he added.
The president also praised the Turkish people for standing up “against enemies,” including the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fe-thullah Gülen.
“Whoever Sultan Alparslan and [Seljuk] Sultan Kilijarslan struggled against, we also struggled against them on July 15 ,” he said.
The defeated coup left 250 people dead and injured nearly 2,200 others.
“Whoever Osmangazi [the founder of the Ottoman Empire], Fatih Sultan Mehmet [the 7th Sultan of Ottoman Empire who conquered Istanbul], Sultan Abdulhamid [the 34th Ottoman Sultan] and the veteran [Gazi] Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [the founder of the Republic of Turkey] struggled against, we also struggled with them on July 15,” Erdoğan said.
“The game is the same. The target is the same. Only the scenarios and actors are different,” he added.
“Turkish people have never given up their dignity and independence, even when at risk of being martyred. That’s why we should never forget Malazgirt, the starting point of our story in Anatolia. Those who don’t learn from history are obliged to go through it again. Unfortunately, the Battle of Malazgirt was neglected for a long time in our country. But even though those who governed the state forgot about Malazgirt, the people didn’t. We called on the people and the people are now in Malazgirt,” he said.
Noting that the celebrations in Malazgirt “will be very different” in coming years, Erdoğan claimed that “those who don’t understand the significance of Malazgirt cannot understand why we say ‘One nation, one flag, one homeland, one state’ at every opportunity.”