Addressing the veterans at a gathering in the rehabilitation center's cafeteria, Gül said: “This issue is a serious one. You are the people who sacrificed your lives for this country. You sacrificed your most important thing for the homeland, the nation and the sacred values of this country. Fallen soldiers and veterans are the most distinguished people of this nation.”
Thousands of soldiers have been killed and many thousands more are veterans of a bloody conflict in the country's Southeast that has been going on since 1984. The war is being waged by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
President Gül visited the TSK Rehabilitation and Care Center to meet with veterans.
Referring to Turkish soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915, Gül told the veterans, “Just as your ancestors sacrificed their lives for this homeland back then, you have sacrificed your lives today to ensure the unity and indivisibility of this nation.”
The 95th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, which was won by the defending Ottoman army and laid the groundwork for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic eight years later under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was marked with ceremonies across the country on Thursday.
Gül also vowed that Turkey would do its best to ensure the well-being of veterans and that it would always value their sacrifices for the country.