Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan initiated his campaign for the August presidential elections in Samsun, a city on the Black Sea coast. After speaking at a crowded rally joined by tens of thousands of supporters, he headed to his next stop: the northeastern city of Erzurum. Notably, for anyone with a basic knowledge of Turkish political history, the selection of these two cities was not random. For these were the very first two stops of Gen. Mustafa Kemal, later named Ataturk (Father of the Turks), when he moved from Istanbul to Anatolia in 1919 to initiate Turkey’s War of Independence (1919-22) against occupying armies.
No wonder Erdogan underlined the historical parallelism. In Samsun, he said, “We are taking the first big step in Samsun, the city of big beginnings. Gazi Mustafa Kemal took the first step of the War of Independence here.”