Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  KOREAN WAR: Turkish Brigade saved U.S. troops from annihilation  
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The heroic but unpublicized role of the Turkish troops during the 1950-53 Korean War is far from being fully acknowledged by most of the Western historians and public, although we observed the 50th anniversary of that fateful war on June 25, 2000.

The 5,453-strong Turkish brigade served under the command of late Brg. Gen. Tahsin Yazici as a part of the U.N. force fighting the communist expansion on the Korean peninsula. The “Anatolian Lions” were later awarded the highest honorable citation of the U.S. Army for saving the U.S. Eighth Army and the IX Army Corps from encirclement and the U.S. 2nd Division from total annihilation. In this legendary effort, the Turks lost 717 men and suffered 2,413 wounded representing the highest combat casualty rate of any U.N. unit engaged in Korea.

General Walton H. Walker of the US Army greeting Turkish soldiers in Korea

U.S. Congressman John P. Murtha (Democrat -- Pennsylvania 12 District) of the House of Representatives (as Rep. Hobson) was one lawmaker who remembered the great Turkish-American solidarity that shaped history fifty years ago in the cold, harsh, and unforgiving hills of Korea.


Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) Praises Turks in Korean War

“As someone who joined the Marine Corps during the Korean War, I’ve always felt strongly about our allies in Turkey,” Said Rep. Murtha on June 27, in his address he delivered on the House floor.

General Yazici and Turkish soldiers in Korea

“As we mark the 50-year anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25th, the Turkish military’s bravery and heroism deserve great praise.

The Turkish Brigade demonstrated superior combat capability and courage from the critical moment it entered the battlefield in October 1950, through the cease-fire agreement of July 1953,” Murtha reminded.


Chinese prisoners cross-examined at Turkish

Chinese prisoners cross-examined at Turkish
Brigade Headquarters


  Gen. MacArthur said, “The Turks are the hero of heroes


General Yazici meets General Douglas MacArthur

General Yazici meets General Douglas MacArthur

General Yazici gets the Silver Star from U.S. 8th Army General Walton H. Walker, for Yazici's General Yazici gets the Silver Star from U.S. 8th Army General Walton H. Walker, for Yazici'sGeneral Yazici gets the Silver Star from U.S. 8th Army General Walton H. Walker, for Yazici's heroism and courage during the Kunuri battles.

General Yazici gets the Silver Star from U.S.
8th Army General Walton H. Walker, for Yazici's
heroism and courage during the Kunuri battles.

"...The fierce combat ability of the Turkish Brigade should never be forgotten."


“Turkey provided the fifth-largest military contingent among United Nations forces — 5,453 soldiers at the peak of the war. The Turkish Brigade is credited with saving the U.S. Eighth Army and the IX Army Corps from encirclement by communist enemies, and the 2nd Division from total destruction during critical battles in November 1950,” he said.

“United Nations’ Forces Commander in Chief General Douglas MacArthur said ‘the Turks are the hero of heroes. There is no impossibility for the Turkish Brigade.’ No enemy attack succeeded in penetrating the front of the Turkish Brigade, while British and American forces were forced to withdraw from defensive lines. Even though out of ammunition, the Turks affixed their bayonets and attacked the enemy, eventually in hand-to-hand combat. The Turks succeeded in withdrawing by continuous combat and carry­ing their injured comrades from the battlefield on their backs.”

“Among the twenty U.N. Members contributing military forces in Korea, Time Magazine praised the Turkish Brigade for its courageous battles and for creating a favorable effect on the whole United Nations Forces. A U.S. radio commentary in December 1950 thanked the Turkish Brigade’s heroism for giving hope to a demoralized American nation,” Murtha continued.

“Although the Korean War is often called ‘the Forgotten War,’ partly because it ended inconclusively with no real winner, the fierce combat ability of the Turkish Brigade should never be forgotten. The 717 Turkish soldiers killed in action, and the 2,413 wounded in action, represent the highest casualty rate of any U.N. element engaged in the fighting. The simple white grave markers in a green field near Pusan will eternally remind us of the heroic soldiers of a heroic nation,” Murtha ended his remarks.

South Korean monument dedicated to the Turkish Armed Forces

The South Korean monument reads, in part:

"On October 17, 1950, Turkey dispatched army units to defend the freedom of Korea and the peace of the world. From that time until the Korean Armistice was signed in 1953, the Turkish forces fought valiantly in the Battles of Kumu-ri, Wawon, Shillim-ri, Uijongim, Yonch'on, T'oegyewon, Kumhwa and Hansullim. They suffered 717 dead, 2,246 wounded and 167 missing in action. Even after the war, the Turkish troops remained in Korea until July 1966."


Senator Robert C. Byrd, on June 27, 1995:


The United States’ relationship with Turkey dates back to .the post-World War I creation of the Turkish Republic, which was founded on the American model of separation of church and state and the free-market economic system. That relationship continues today as Turkey remains a bulwark of secular democracy in a hotbed of neighboring conflicts involving religion and national boundaries.

A testament to Turkey’s friendship with the United States is Turkey’s crucial role during the Korean War. Turkey came to our aid during that critical time. Turkish troops fought alongside American forces and demonstrated exemplary courage, dedication, and discipline. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, who was then the Commander of the United Nations forces in Korea, hailed the Turkish troops as “the bravest of the brave.”

Turkey’s decision to get involved in Korea secured its rightful place in the family of nations. At great risk to its own political future as well as to its economy, Turkey showed itself to be a reliable and stalwart world partner. 

Over the years since the Korean War, the United States’ relationship with Turkey has only grown stronger. As a fellow member of NATO, Turkey’s strategic location near the Soviet Union and its former satellite states, as well as Turkey’s role in the volatile Middle East, has proved invaluable. 

The Turkish Republic has come a long way since its inception in the early part of this century. Its future as a friend of the United States and a a crucial member of NATO is assured. As we approach the 21st century and look back on what has been accomplished during this century, I am proud to call Turkey a friend and ally.


Yep, Senator Byrd is correct... Turkey has proven an incredible friend and ally to the United States through the years. Another recent "critical time" was when President George Bush Senior began to put together the alliance in preparation for the Gulf War, and Turkey's then President Turgut Ozal was the very first (if memory serves) to pledge significant support.... ultimately costing billions to the Turkish economy in years to come. Meanwhile, The United States has proven a great friend and ally to Turkey as well... but only when the United States needs Turkey! Otherwise, this fair-weather friend's government and media treat Turkey as the Rodney Dangerfield of loyal allies.

Faithful Unto Death!

Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, had stated back in 1937: 

“...We must not ignore discomfort in another part of the world. We must pay attention to it just as if it had occurred in our midst.. We must not divert from this principle no matter how distant the event is. This approach shall set individuals, nations and governments free from selfishness; for selfishness, be it personal or institutional, must be perceived as evil... We shall pay attention to the whole world from now on...”. This outward orientation and sensitivity became an integral part of Turkish foreign policy and continued as part of
Atatürk,’s legacy, even after his death. Hence, Turkey’s membership in the United Nations shortly after this organization’s constitution.

The Turkish notion of “faithful unto death” was the underlying reason of Turkey’s contribution to the Korean War. Turks took it on themselves to comply with the principle of “Pacta Sum Servanda” and to fulfill their obligation in terms of their UN membership, to help another member in defending democracy and freedom whatever the cost may be. 

Korean orphans with a Turkish soldier

Turkey continues to send her sons to provide democracy, freedom and comfort to other nations suffering from chaos, disaster or foreign aggression, even if this means that they may be placed in harm’s way. Turkish troops served under UN command in Somalia and continue to serve in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina today.  

Commentary has been taken from various articles of The Turkish Times


In 1946, President Harry Truman sent the USS Missouri, our most powerful battleship, to deliver the body of the Turkish ambassador back to his home country. That singular act of respect was greeted with ecstasy throughout Turkey and sealed an emotional bond to us for a generation. It should not be hard for the Bush administration to find other ways to make sure Turkey knows it values their friendship.

During the Korean War, American and British units worried when an allied unit was placed on their flank. The exception to this rule was Turkish troops. When the Turks were on your flank you could be absolutely certain they would never break and leave you in the lurch. Their country has proved to be just as resolute for six decades. The United States needs to let Turkey know we will be there for them also.

Excerpted from James Lacey's article, "Time to Treat Turkey as an Ally," Nov. 2002, insightmag.com

"Nine Fingers are Enough!"


Written by Hikmet Feridun Es


At the moment I'm writing this, all the hospital corridors in Japan are filled with the wounded. Our own wounded boys are being sent to Japan from Korea by airplane... mostly to Japan's General and Apex hospitals.

When I came to Japan for a couple of days to mail my photos and (journalistic) reports, I got a telephone call in the early morning. The hospital's doctors asked me I needed to hop in a car and go to the hospital right away. In a situation like this, the word "request" has no meaning. Our boys in the hospital could not communicate with the doctors in the doctors' language. I happily rushed to the hospital.

Let me explain the courtesy and attitude of our boys in their own words. I asked one of the young men whose body was riddled with holes, carrying ten to fifteen wounds, "What's wrong?"

As much as he was capable of mustering, in a sweet tone, he replied, "I have nothing, efendim!"

This attitude from the Turkish soldiers so affected the American doctors, they were in tears.

"We never, ever saw any kind of wounded like these men. These men act as if their bullet, machine gun and bomb wounds are nonexistent. The wounded from any other nation, in similar shape, would be crying and shaking in their situation. Your boys never utter a word of complaint.

These American doctors, so moved by the uncomplaining attitude of the Turkish soldiers, attempted to go the extra mile to minimize their pain.

"Aci!.." This is the first Turkish word ("pain") that the American doctors in the Tokyo and Anex hospitals learn. Every time they encounter a wound, an aching chest, a throbbing back, when they feel with their fingers, they ask in Turkish:


In the Anex hospital, we stood in front of a bed. A Turkish soldier, so young, one would call him a kid. Wrapped totally in bandages. His name is Ahmet Cicek. (Chi-chek.) From "Cankir." Many parts of his body were injured from an exploding bomb.

What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing is wrong..."

(My darling boy!)

The doctor unwrapped the bandage from one of his hands. I could never have imagined a hand to be in such a mutilated shape.

Signaling one of the patient's fingers, the doctor told me in English:

"Tell him we need to amputate this finger from the root...today."

When the other doctors noticed my reluctance, they continued:

"What's the matter? This is very important."

Ahmet Cicek from Cankir first looked at me with foggy eyes... then at the men, dressed in white.

I protested. I added I had much experience, spending days and nights in hospitals, and mentioned by helping them I needed to be free in my actions:

"Please permit me, Doctor, don't make me give this boy such news."

The doctors replied, "However, he must know what is to happen to him. And we must begin the operation immediately."

When he noticed the ongoing argument, Ahmet Cicek from Cankir asked, "What are they saying, big brother?"

I finally revealed: "Ahmet. One of your fingers is no good anymore, my son. If it's not removed, your whole hand will be endangered. They now want to take you into the operating room."

At that moment, something happened I would have never expected. Ahmet Cicek began to laugh! Yes, he was laughing:

"Only one finger, big brother?"

"Yes... Only one finger!"

"Really, what is there to be sad about? I already realized that finger could rot my entire arm four days ago. I was going to cut it myself, but I didn't have enough strength in my other hand. I tried, but I couldn't. Let them cut it.... nine fingers are enough!"


This and the following article have been translated with the help of Holdwater's limited Turkish, from the only Turkish history "book" in my collection, called "Resimli Tarih Mecmuasi," a bound collection entitled, "Illustrated History Magazine," Number 19, July 1951.

  "Turkish Soldiers Number One"


Even the enemy would say this about the Turks.

Written by Hikmet Feridun Es


We approached what could be enemy territory, and there was a rustling in the bush. A young soldier suddenly emerged, with his hands up:

"Turk? American?"

He was shouting while asking. Approaching the American tank closest to him, he handed over the paper he was holding. Soon, we all gathered around this tank, and read this note, written in English:

"We are two prisoners of the Chinese. The boy who brought this note knows where we are hiding. Come and rescue us."

The "tank men" first discussed the possibility of a trap. However, the "Celal Dora" forces were themselves searching for the enemy, and they were in a position to entrap the ones who could be setting a trap. Then we observed the soldier, who was speaking slowly but was clearly nervous. Even our Korean translators figured there could be something fishy going on.

This photo is from another story, telling how a fallen Turk was rescued under a hail of bullets & was operated on, in the field

This photo is from another story, telling how a fallen Turk was
rescued under a hail of bullets & was operated on, in the field.

    Well, we couldn't take the chance of leaving prisoners behind, so with the kid in front and our "Mehmets" following... we prepared for the possibility of danger.

Finally, we found two American soldiers ahead. When they saw our boys, they cried:

"Turks! ... Brother Turks!..."

They hugged the Mehmets... what a sight to behold. These two men were prisoners of the Chinese for eight weeks. When the Reds retreated, they took the Americans with them. However, when our boys speedily advanced, the Chinese decided to leave their prisoners behind, declaring:

"Wait here. Sooner or later, Americans will arrive."

And they left them. Another portion they wanted to take with them. These two American boys were in this group, but they managed to escape and hide. All prisoners who got loose of the Chinese reported how the Chinese acted in humanitarian fashion. As deprived and poor as they were, they even shared their rice with the prisoners, and did not beat them. These were in start contrast to the North Koreans, who would take the opportunity to beat the prisoners... sometimes making sure to perform such acts in secret, from the Chinese. The Chinese would save the United Nations prisoners from the beatings, whenever possible.

This is not in keeping with the anti-Chinese propaganda. The Chinese prisoners that fell into our hands -- for example, recently, we captured many Chinese -- the Chinese prisoners have gotten to know the Turks quite well. Many of them have learned only one sentence in English, which they keep repeating:

Turkish soldiers Number One...

At every opportunity, they would communicate to us that there is no greater soldier, indicating that they have found us to be a worthy enemy.

During the initial period of the war when we were in haste, we weren't able to take the best care of our prisoners... but now the Chinese prisoners enjoy good comfort. If they are wounded, they are examined immediately. The Turkish cigarettes they are given ample supplies of are consumed with pleasure.



If you are an American reader, ask yourself.... why was the media so quiet when it came to acknowledging the Turks' bravery during the 50th Anniversary Korean War remembrance period in 2000? 

As Professor Mahmut Ozan said in his commentary during this time, "As if they were adding salt to the wound, the TV networks were glorifying the unselfish bravery of the British, Canadian, and Greek units, and mentioning even the Colombians and the Ethiopians by name, with their ‘invaluable’ contributions rendered to the armed forces of the United States." Not that these other nations did not contribute to the war effort, but none of them saved a U.S. division from total destruction; no other nation's soldiers suffered higher casualties, none gave hope to a "demoralized American nation," and I doubt any of these other nations received obvious heartfelt praise by American major players (President Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur). What forces are at work that prevent anything good being said in the U.S. media about Turkey? Think about it. And think about how tainted all the negative information you keep hearing about Turkey might possibly be. 



 Outside reading:

"Turkey" on korean-war.com


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