Gallipoli and the Ottoman Jews

A travelling exhibition entitled ‘The Gallipoli War – The 1st World War and the Ottoman Jews’ will be available to public at Mekor Hayim Synagogue in the Turkish town of Canakkale between 15 March and 15 April. Canakkale is the city where Gallipoli campaign took place. The exhibition is organised by “The 500th Year Foundation”.

Jewish officers of the Ottoman army in Gallipoli

Jewish officers (from Ottoman Palestine – modern Israel) in Ottoman army

A total of 66 historical pieces consisting of visual materials and stories will be exhibited. The exhibition, which consists of five main sections, starts with a petition sent to the Ottoman King Abdulhamid II by the Ottoman Jews, calling him to allow Ottoman Jews to join the Ottoman army. There are also stories of Ottoman Jewish soldiers fighting for and sacrificing their lives for their country at the various fronts of the Ottoman army including Sarikamish, Galicia and the Gallipoli.

Dressed in his Turkish Officer uniform in Gallipoli - Moshe Sharett was the second Prime Minister of Israel, serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms

Israel’s 2nd PM Moshe Sharett, dressed as a Turkish Officer in Gallipoli

About 558 non-Muslim Ottoman soldiers lost their lives during Gallipoli campaign. Although often overlooked, the participation of the Ottoman Jews in the Gallipoli campaign is highlighted at the exhibition which received considerable contribution from Çanakkale 18 Mart University Assoc. Dr. Mithat Atabay.

Moshe Sharett, The second Prime Minister of Israel, had also served as First Lieutenant in the Ottoman Army during the Gallipoli Campaign.