‘Manzikert opened gateway to our political sovereignty in Anatolia,’ says Recep Tayyip Erdogan on anniversary of pivotal battle
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday marked the 952nd anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert, a historic victory for Turks in Anatolia, later the home of both the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Türkiye.
“The truth should never be forgotten that Manzikert was no ordinary battle, no ordinary victory,” Erdogan said at an event in the eastern Mus province, the site of the battle nearly a millennium ago.
“We did not set foot in Anatolia with Manzikert,” Erdogan added, speaking of the Turkish people. “We had long since been here. Manzikert opened the gateway to our political sovereignty in Anatolia.”
The president also commemorated with gratitude all the heroes of the victory, including Alp Arslan, sultan of the Seljuk Empire.
Turkish control of Anatolia began with the Battle of Malazgirt, also known as the Battle of Manzikert, on Aug. 26, 1071, which saw the Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alp Arslan defeat a much larger Byzantine army.
The victory accelerated the decline of the Byzantine Empire, and led to more Turks settling in the region, paving the way for both the Ottoman Empire and the modern Republic of Türkiye, founded a century ago this year.
Hundreds of years later, foreign occupation prompted Türkiye’s War of Independence in 1919, in which Turkish forces – led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – eventually drove the invaders from Anatolia.
By the end of 1922, all foreign forces had left the territories, which became a part of the Republic of Türkiye a year later.