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Gallipoli centenary marks another snub for Turkish minorities

Hundreds of non-Muslim soldiers killed in the Gallipoli campaign 100 years ago were ignored in elaborate centenary observances.
A Turkish soldier in historical uniform stands at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Canakkale, as part of the Gallipoli campaign in Gallipoli March 18, 2015. Turkish jets flew overhead and warships cut through rough waters in the Dardanelles Straits on Wednesday to mark the centenary of one of the Ottoman Empire's final victories, as fascination with the imperial past flourishes under President Tayyip Erdogan. Record numbers of Turks have flocked to these headlands in recent years to
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Centenary observations of the Gallipoli campaign that ended with the Ottoman Empire's victory against the Allies sadly became another occasion to expose how the non-Muslim minorities in Turkey are snubbed. Non-Muslim soldiers who lost their lives were not saluted and their names were removed from the list of martyrs issued by the Defense Ministry.

The Gallipoli observances were guided by anti-minority narratives and actions that were enflamed by comparisons between the Gallipoli centenary and the approaching 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, when he was the foreign minister in 2011, said: “We will inform the whole world about 2015. Contrary to what some claim and disparage, we will tell the world that this will not be the anniversary of a genocide but of honorable resistance of a nation at Gallipoli.”

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