Turkey welcomes U.S. military students of WWI history

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ANKARA, Turkey -- Future commanders of the U.S. military have been touring the monumental Turkish War of Independence battle fields in order to learn about the war strategies of Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the ground.

The group made up of 15 students from the U.S. Military Academy West Point and six from the U.S. Naval Academy was joined by four Turkish students from the Ankara Land Forces War Academy. Guided by a number of Turkish and American professors, they have altogether studied history, particularly the Dardanelles Campaign in 1915 and saw the grounds where Atatürk fought.

"We are soldiers and we study the history of war and are very interested in these battles because we can learn a lot about how the war was fought," Maj. Daniel Barnard told the Turkish Daily News late on Monday.

Despite unimaginable losses, the Dardanelles Campaign or Gallipoli was a turning point in Turkish history that enabled the Turks to define themselves as a nation with a distinct identity. After the Dardanelles Campaign, Atatürk emerged not only as a leader who fought off foreign armies, but also as a leader who created an army that fought for independence, eventually giving birth to the Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as president.

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