After a wreath was placed on Sarıkamış Ayyıldız Ceremonial Ground and following the Battle of Sarıkamış Presentation and Quran Recitation, Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu gave a speech and stated that he was honored to be in these lands that witnessed a history once again, on the 10th year of the Battle of Sarıkamış.

Conveying the greetings and love of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to those attending the ceremony, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “Although the number of participants is limited due to the pandemic this year, we are still here, thank God. I remember with mercy and gratitude our martyrs who brought us here together with the same spirit and belief”.

While stating that the pains Sarıkamış endured a century ago were undoubtedly enormous, Minister Kasapoğlu said:

“An avalanche fell onto the chest of our nation from the top of Allahuekber Mountains and tore the entire Anatolia’s heart out. That heartache has since been the subject of many folk songs and laments for decades. Yet, Sarıkamış is a witness of a great heroism that went down in history as much as that heartache. This land is the home of sagas as much as laments. The valiant who gave their lives and walked to martyrdom became the heroes of a sad but glorious resistance as a monument of consciousness”. 

Indicating that the spirit that made Gallipoli impassable, that triumphed over the occupants in the Siege of Kut Al Amara, and that has built the Republic of Turkey giving a big and historically unique fight for Independence is the same spirit as that of Mehmetçik who wrote the saga of bravery on snow in Sarıkamış, Minister Kasapoğlu continued, “The spirit that originated from the Malazgirt Plain and embraced Anatolia and conquered Istanbul left its mark on the snowy mountains in Sarıkamış. This is what makes Sarıkamış immortal to us”.

“This entrustment is on the shoulders of the youth of Turkey today, who are the hope of humanity”

Pointing out that the youth of this country must be well told about Sarıkamış and the saga of Sarıkamış that tells the patriotism of this beloved nation and the consciousness of being a nation, Minister Kasapoğlu said that, as the Ministry of Youth and Sports, they saw it as a sacred duty to pass on this blessed entrustment to the future. Explaining that they considered it as one of the most fundamental duties of the ministry to contribute to the historical knowledge of young people, Minister Kasapoğlu said:

“Because a young man who reads Sarıkamış well will also grasp what it means to come from the four corners of Turkey to fight for Sarıkamış. He will feel in his heart the great struggle of those who came out of Palestine, the Balkans and the Caucasus and died for the sake of the homeland in Çanakkale. The greatest strength for a society is the combination of the experiences of the past with the excitement of the future and their transformation into a collective consciousness. This is why we are on Dumlupınar roads and in the Malazgirt Plain every August. This is why we follow in the footsteps of the 57th Regiment in Çanakkale every year. Mehmetçik who fought against difficulties and gave their lives in the Allahuekber Mountains shouldered and passed down Turkey and our homeland to us. This entrustment was shouldered by fifteen-year-olds in Çanakkale and Ömer Halisdemir and the likes of him on July 15. This entrustment is on the shoulders of the precious youth of Turkey today, who are the hope of not only this nation and this geography but also humanity”.

Indicating that they were inspired by the excitement and energy of the youth that carry the entrusted national independence while working tooth and nail to take Turkey to a bright future, Minister Kasapoğlu noted, “Nothing is more important to us than Turkey, the youth of this country, the future of our nation and the perpetuity of our homeland. The future of Turkey means the future of our beloved geography. Because Turkey means independence, hope, fidelity, conscience, justice and mercy for the entire humanity”. 

Stressing that planes bearing the crescent and the star provided aid to areas in need whereas other countries denied masks from each other during the pandemic, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “The dormitories under our Ministry have been a shelter for our nation during the pandemic”.

“We have continued working, producing and raising our flag despite the pandemic”

Reminding that Turkish nation closed ranks with Vefa Social Support Groups, security officers, healthcare professionals, educators, sports coaches and young people during the pandemic, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “We have continued working, producing and raising our flag despite the pandemic”.

Reminding that they promised to turn the pandemic into an opportunity for athletes and the youth, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “Praise be, we have heard the news of our athletes winning championships and medals again and again as soon as the competitions started. Our nation has felt this justified pride. I hope to God that we will continue experiencing this feeling even more strongly. In this sense, we could not be prouder of our youth and athletes who have made us experience such pride. We will continue working and producing for our youth and athletes as we have always done”. 

“The Justice and Development Party government has literally made a revolution” 

Minister Kasapoğlu said, “Praise be, with the sports halls and swimming pools we have built in Kars, just like we do all around our country, we have taken Turkey that aims for the top in all areas even higher with youth and sports investments. The Justice and Development Party government has literally made a revolution. We will continue bringing our beloved Kars, Sarıkamış and the precious people of Kars together with new facilities and investments as we do all around our country”.

Heralding that Sarıkamış Youth Center’s opening would be held today, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “It is for our youth, who are our hope and everything. Today, we will open our center together. I hope our center will be beneficial to all our people, in particular our youth. In the future, I hope that we will come together again in Sarıkamış, Kars and other districts. All our facilities will be at the service of our nation and our youth 24/7. I invite our young people to make the most of these facilities”.

“The youth is the group that our President attaches the most importance to”, said Minister Kasapoğlu and continued: “Because youth means today, youth means tomorrow, youth means the future. We will mobilize all kinds of opportunities for our young people in the upcoming period, as we have done so far. We are taking our young people on a heartfelt journey with youth camps and projects and trips that support our youth, and we will continue doing so. A youth with a sense of history will embrace every inch of Anatolia with fervent desire and faith and will work day and night for the future of Turkey. With this effort, we, as the Ministry, have brought together the youth of our country here for the past years. Our young people from all over our country have felt here the memory of our martyrs to their bones, followed in their footsteps and gone after the spirit they have inherited. Although the pandemic conditions prevent us from bringing the same crows together here, I would like to express that we are here as one heart in the same spirit and with the same excitement. God willing, we will be here again with our precious young people and citizens from all around our country in the future”. 

Greetings from Sarıkamış to beloved Azerbaijan 

Emphasizing that the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, during which Turkey stood by its sister country Azerbaijan with a will made of steel, wrote the last and final lines of the saga that started with the Battle of Sarıkamış, Minister Kasapoğlu said: “Everyone who played a part in this victory, especially our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, celebrated the souls of the Sarıkamış martyrs. A lament rising from a nomadic Avşar tent in Çukurova a hundred years ago, cries that the bodies of the martyrs shine in Sarıkamış “When it rains and the sun touches them”. Yet, those bodies are a source of perseverance for us, a source of determination, rather than being painful memories of a sad past. I commemorate all our heroes who were martyred for the future and independence of our country, from Malazgirt to Sarıkamış, Çanakkale to the grounds of July 15 and Afrin, and I bow respectfully to them. I would like to thank everyone who is here today, showing their loyalty and respect to our history and those brave heroes of history, and who have contributed to the realization of this organization”. 

Pandemic measure to the Commemoration Program 

Sarıkamış Commemoration Program was held with a limited number of participants this year due to the pandemic. Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez, as well as the guests attended the ceremony. 

The program, which started with a ceremony held in Sarıkamış Ayyıldız Ceremony Area, continued with a march between the ceremony area and the cemetery. Minister Kasapoğlu and Minister Dönmez also performed the opening of Sarıkamış Youth Center and an exhibition of snow sculptures.