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OUR LEGENDS 1.

The Turkish Legend of Derivation

This is the first major legend and one of the traditionally most famous among Turks. While the legend describes how the Great Turkish Empire succeeded to the highest position in the World, it also explains how the creation of their descendance came about. It had reinforced the belief among all Turkish clans that their descent arose from a divine source. The epic story is believed to have originated from the eight century, perpetuated by oral tradition up to the fifteenth century before being written down. The Legend One of the biggest Turkish emperors had two daughters and they were both extremely beautiful. They were so beautiful that people believed these two daughters could only marry beings with supernatural powers and that these women were not created for humans. As the emperor believed this same idea, he searched for ways of keeping his daughters away from people. In the farthest point of his land, a place where no man had neither walked nor seen before, he built a tall tower and locked his two daughters into this tower. He then prayed and begged so adamantly that the god who he believed in could not resist. The god came down to earth, took the form of a greywolf, and married the daughters of the emperor. Nine children were born after this marriage; They were named the Nine "Oguz" (meaning a good-hearted decent) and their voices resembled that of a greywolf. In the end, these children all carried the spirit of the Greywolf, their population grew and thus the Turks embody characteristics such as great strength, great courage, and great agility.


2.

LEGEND OF FISH LAKE in URFA Nemrut is a ruler who spreads terror and fear all around. One night he asks for an interpretation of his dream. He learns one of the children born that year will kill him and commands that all the children born be killed. Sara, mother of the Prophet Abraham, gives birth to her child in a cave, leaves him there and goes home. A gazelle nurses the baby. After awhile, soldiers find Abraham in the cave. Nemrut, who never had a child, decides to take care of Abraham. Witnessing the horror of Nemrut forcing his people to worship statues, when everyone leaves for a ceremony, Ibrahim enters the area of statues in the palace and breaks all the statues with an axe, finally leaving the axe in the hands of the largest statue. During his trial, Abraham protests his innocence, saying ?You see the axe is in the hands of the big statue; probably he is the one who did it.? Furious, Nemrut shouts, ?How can a piece of stone take an axe and do this?? Ibrahim replies; ?If he is a real God, why can?t he do it?? Infuriated, Nemrut commands Abraham to be thrown into the fire. Although Zeliha, daughter of Nemrut, begs for mercy, she can?t convince her dad. Wood is piled up in the area of ?Halil-ul Rahman Lake? and the fire is set. The place where the Prophet Abraham fell into the fire becomes a lake and a rose garden and the woods become fishes. Zeliha throws herself into the fire after Abraham and the place becomes known as ?Aynzeliha Lake.?


3. The Gallipoli Battle The Legend of February 1915 - January 1916

The World War I, also known as the Great War, was going to define the fate of many nations. The Ottoman Empire now engaged for a fight for its life was fighting on many fronts against the Allies in the Caucasus in the east, in the Middle East in the south, and in the Aegean region and the Thrace in the West. When in early 1915 Russia found itself threatened by the Turks, Czar asked for help from the British. The government of London in return assembled a mighty navy comprised of the British, the French, and the Anzacs. It was the largest force of its time. The goal was simple. The Allies were to penetrate through the Turkish straits starting at the Dardanelles and then capture Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Subsequently, they hoped to take the Turks out of the war and join their forces with the Russians. But, they did not count on one military commander; Mustafa Kemal Pasha of the Ottoman Empire. MUSTAFA KEMAL PASHA

The Turks were prepared to face the Allied navy at the Dardanelles. Finally, the naval attack began on February 19, 1915 but the landing did not occur until


April 25, 1915. The Allied troops found fierce resistance on the ground against the Turks. With fewer supplies but with more determination, Mustafa Kemal’s soldiers did not give up their fight to defend their land against all odds. At a moment of despair, Mustafa Kemal Pasha gave his famous command, “I did not command you to fight but to die (for your country).” A great motivator and a military strategist he managed to push back the Allied troops on the ground. His successful military campaigns leading the 19th division of the 5th army, Mustafa Kemal became a national hero and earned the respect of his enemies. At the end, the Allies faced a disastrous defeat while Mustafa Kemal became the Legend of the Battle of Gallipoli.

SEYiT ONBASHI There were many individuals who made sacrifices for their country. The Anzacs and the Turks fought the battle courageously. Many died. The Allies have lost approximately 200,000 men while the Turks lost about 300,000. The heroes were everywhere. Another Turkish hero, Seyit Onbashi was in charge of shooting the Allied ships with his cannon at the Medjidie Fort. When the lift for the shells was damaged due to the heavy bombardment of the Allied ships, Seyit took upon himself to lift one of the shells that weighed approximately 275 kilograms. The shell that he carried is said to have mortally damaged the HMS Ocean (March 18), which finally sank when it hit the mine set by the minelayer Nusret. Seyit died in 1939.


4.

Nasreddin Hodja Tales of the Turkish Trickster About Nasreddin Hodja Nasreddin Hodja is Turkey's (and perhaps all of Islam's) best-known trickster. His legendary wit and droll trickery were possibly based on the exploits and words of a historical imam. Nasreddin reputedly was born in 1208 in the village of Horto near Sivrihisar. In 1237 he moved to Aksehir, where he died in the Islamic year 683 (1284 or 1285). As many as 350 anecdotes have been attributed to the Hodja, as he most often is called. Hodja is a title meaning teacher or scholar. He frequently is compared with the northern European trickster Till Eulenspiegel. The many spelling variations for Nasreddin include: Nasreddin, Nasrettin, Nasrudin, Nasr-id-deen, Nasr Eddin, Nasr-eddin, Nasirud-din, Nasr-ud-Din, Nasr-Eddin, and Nasr-Ed-Dine. The many spelling variations for Hodja include: Hodja, Hodscha, Hoca, Chotza, Cogia, Khodja, and Khoja. Everyone Is Right Once when Nasreddin Hodja was serving as qadi, one of his neighbors came to him with a complaint against a fellow neighbor. The Hodja listened to the charges carefully, then concluded, "Yes, dear neighbor, you are quite right." Then the other neighbor came to him. The Hodja listened to his defense carefully, then concluded, "Yes, dear neighbor, you are quite right." The Hodja's wife, having listened in on the entire proceeding, said to him, "Husband, both men cannot be right." The Hodja answered, "Yes, dear wife, you are quite right."


5.

The Şahmaran Legend There are many interesting stories to be found relating to Tarsus; of these, the ones concerning Şahmaran are the most interesting . It has become the best-known and most retold tale in the city and its environs. The story relates the events of a young man by the name of Camsab and Şahmaran the king of the snakes, a creature with a human head and a snake’s body. The tale is a story of close friendship, a deep secret and betrayel that ends in death . The story begins when Cansab the wood cutter is lowered into a well by a group of friends to get honey. Thus, he finds himself in Şahmaran’s underground world where he is destined to stay due to his friends abandoning him. Snakes capture him and he appears before Şahmaran himself. Cansab explained how he came to be there upon which Şahmaran shares a secret with the young man. Cansab is then forced to stay for fear that the secret would be told to those living above. After very long period of time Şahmaran gives in to the pleadings of the young man to released back to his own world. He is advised not to tell of what he has seen or to go to the baths. It was said that if he should enter the baths his skin would turn to snake scales. Cansab returns to his own world and for many years tells no one of the events that took place. However the countries ruler become ill and Şahmaran is blamed for the illness. Soldiers begin to look for anyone who has seen Şahmaran. The rulers men begin to take people one by one to the baths where they are to wash themselves in order to see who knows more than what they are telling. Cansab hides for fear of this test but is ultimately captured and returned to the city. When he washes in the baths, his skin turns to snakes scales and the secret is thus brought to light. The man is then persuaded to reveal how to get to Şahmaran’s hiding place. The king of snakes is captured very quickly, taken to the baths, cut into three pieces and sent to the ruler. Upon beign cured the ruler makes Cansab grand vizier and as result all the snakes of the world became the mortal enemies of mankind.


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