1st Edition

An Archaeology of the Turkish War of Independence Landscape and Time

By Ömer Can Aksoy Copyright 2023
    180 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is about the conflict which resolved the Greek–Turkish War of 1919–1922: the Great Offensive. On 26 August 1922, the army of the GNA executed the Great Offensive against the Greek defence line extending from the Bay of Gemlik to the Meander River. The Turkish Forces split the Greek Army into two large groups, annihilated one of the groups in the field at the Battle of Dumlupınar on 30 August and pursued the remaining forces of the Greek Army towards the Aegean and Marmara coasts until 18 September. Within these 24 days, the face of Western Anatolia changed unalterably: numerous towns, villages and cities of Western Anatolia were reduced to ashes.

    This conflict was a turning point in the histories of Turkey and Greece, as it played a significant role in shaping the present-day demographic and geopolitical landscapes of both nations. It resulted in a population exchange in 1923 that dramatically altered the lives of Muslims in Greece and Greek Orthodox people in Turkey and paved the way to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. Despite the outcome of this war and the existence of a rich literature on its military and political history, the landscapes, memoryscapes and material culture have not been systematically investigated.

    This book bridges that gap via an archaeological, historical and oral-historical study of the Great Offensive and its aftermath. With its wide chronological perspective, this book is not a pure analysis of a historical war, it is instead a journey into the foundation myth of the Turkish Republic and the ideological foundations of the Turkish state.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Historical Background: From Defeat of the Ottoman Empire to Foundation of the Turkish Republic

    Chapter 3: Hector’s Vengeance: Historical Background of the Echoes of the Great Offensive

    Chapter 4: Battlefields and Material Remains of the Great Offensive

    Chapter 5: Those Hard Days: Memoryscapes of the Greco-Turkish War

    Chapter 6: ‘Beware of the Buried’: The Locals, Landscape and Material Culture of the Great Offensive

    Chapter 7: Imaginings of the Great Offensive

    Chapter 8: The Day of the Turk: Commemoration of the Great Offensive

    Chapter 9: Experiencing the Battlefield as a Visitor

    Chapter 10: Living in the Battlefield of Dumlupınar

    Chapter 11: Conclusion: Timelines, Spaces and Echoes of the Great Offensive


    Ömer Can Aksoy is an affiliated post-doctoral researcher at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and co-founder of Teos Heritage Consultancy. His research interests include modern conflict archaeology in Turkey and the Iron Age of the Arabian Peninsula. Some of his recent publications include: Aksoy, Ö.C. and Kahraman, G. (2022), 'Monuments, narratives and commemoration at the Battlegrounds of Dumlupınar', War and Society, 41, pp. 220–246; Aksoy, Ö.C. (2021), 'Revisiting the Battle of Dumlupınar, an archaeological investigation of the Turkish Battle of Independence', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 55, pp. 109–136; and Aksoy, Ö.C. and Bayar, Z. (2016), 'Archaeological ethnography of the Battle of Aslıhanlar: A case of public archaeology, visual storytelling and interactive map design', European Journal of Archaeology, 19(1), pp. 68–94.