A Turkish Memorial in Russia

Two memorials have been restored in the memory of soldiers of Turkish, German, Hungarian and Austrian origin, who were sent to the Vladivostok region in Russia during WWI  but had fallen prisoner to the Russian army and lost their lives in these camps.

A Turkish Memorial in Russia

Baris Mutlu

There were two memorials constructed nearly one hundred years ago, for the soldiers who had lost their lives in the village of Skotovo belonging to the city of Spassk-Dalniy, which is in the region of Vladivostok that was to the East of the Russian Federation, on the shores of the Japanese Sea.  Further on as they were neglected, they were restored with the contributions of Turkey and Russia.  The memorials which are made of an obelisk stone that is made of granite, have the following writing engraved on them in Russian, Turkish and Hungarian: 'Here lays Turkish, Austrian, Hungarian and German soldiers who have lost their lives in World War 1'.

 The ceremony that took place in Skotovo town which is around 9700 kilometers in distance from our country, was attended by the Turkish ambassador in Moscow Umit Yardim, Land Attache assistant Major Murat Payas and the ambassador of Hungary in Moscow.  Ambassador Umit Yardim who made an emotional speech had specified that they were there in the memory of those who had lost their lives for their nation in the beginning of the 20 th century with the following words: 'Maybe we have been separated for many long years, however we have never forgotten the memories of the people here.  With these feelings we came to their presence.  Even if we do not see and understand these great people are alive for us'.  Yardim who had specified that the restorations of the memorials has established stronger friendship ties between Turkey and Russia continued with the following words:

'With the conditions of that period they had came from the Middle East, Balkans and Anatolia and reached the ranking of martyr.  For us you have reached the highest rank that humans could be elevated to.  You will never be forgotten.  You will always live on in our hearts.'

 Almost left to their own fate

 The Turkish, German, Austrian and Hungarian soldiers who had fallen prisoner in World War 1 were sent to the different regions of Russia.  The numbers of Turks who were held as prisoner by the Russians, from various battle fields but primarily from the Caucasus, are estimated to be around 65 thousand.  From this total around eight to ten thousand people are comprised of civilians.  Even though some of the Ottoman prisoners had returned to Turkey, most of them lost their lives on Russian soil.  With the collapse of the Russian Tsar, the chaotic period that followed had effected negatively the Ottoman soldiers held captive in Russia's outskirts.  Most of these prisoners were left to fend for themselves with the collapse of the central government.  Most of the Ottoman prisoners had lost their lives as a result of sicknesses which had arisen due to living in unhealthy conditions.  The Turkish prisoners who had died in Russia were buried according to their own religious customs in Martyr Cemeteries.

 Even though according to Russian documents it has been recorded that the number of Turks that had died on Russian soil is 582, according to the research which has been conducted this number rises to about 15 thousand.  According to the information which is kept at the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, the prisoners that had died also had been buried appropriate places.  According to some sources in January of 1918, the Turkish prisoners in Russia were allocated as follows: 58 percent in Caucasus, 21 percent in Irkutsk, 12 percent in the Moscow region, 7 percent on the Amur river banks, 1.2 percent in Kazan and 0.5 percent in Omsk.  According to some other research that has been conducted over the years, it has been recorded that other Ottoman-Turk soldiers who had become martyrs had also been buried as well in the Russian state of Primoskiy, the city of Kaluga, Samara, Krasnoyarsk and Varnavino.



Last Mod: 24 Kasım 2016, 08:39
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