The Outer

Bandirma…the story of Ataturk’s ship during the Turkish War of Independence, which was turned into a museum and landmark that bears witness to its era

Turkey- Manal El Warraky:

Inside the northern city of Samsun in northern Turkey, and on the shore of the Black Sea, the ship “Banderma” docks, which carried the leader of the War of Independence and founder of the modern Turkish Republic and its first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to lead Turkey’s war of independence in 1919.

On a tour inside the ship, Ismail Erke, a tour guide certified by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture, said that the Bandirma ship, which played an important role in the founding of the Turkish Republic, was built in the port of Glasgow in Scotland in 1878, under the name “Trocadero”, and then it Transporting goods in Europe under the name “Kemi” for many years.

But by December 12, 1891, the ship had sunk, to be removed from the water, repaired and refloated the same year, and only three years later was transferred to the “Mahassa Administrative Service”, which at that time meant the Maritime Department.

The guide pointed out that from that date, specifically in 1994 onwards, the ship began transporting goods and passengers in the Ottoman seas under the name “Banderma”. Then, on October 28, 1910, when the name “Idari Mahsousa” was changed to “Ottoman Maritime Administration”, the name was changed. The ship was transferred to Bandirma and converted into a mail ferry.

Ismail talked about the ship’s role in the war of independence led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He said, in the wake of the defeat and disintegration of the Ottoman Empire after losing World War I, Ataturk sailed, in May 1919, heading the Bandarma ship to the state of Samsun, where he delivered his famous speech at the port of Samsun, lighting the spark. The first was the wars of liberation and independence, which lasted from 1919 until the declaration of the founding of the Republic in 1923.

After the arrival of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his companions to Samsun, on May 19, 1919, and the announcement of the establishment of the republic in 1923, the ferry continued its postal services, until it was put out of service by the “Turkish Navigation Administration” in 1924, when the ship was dismantled and sold in 1925.

However, the ship was rebuilt using its original drawings as a reference and was converted into a museum by the Samsun State Government, which assumed the use and operating rights of the Bandirma ferry on February 7, 2005, and it was opened to visitors on May 19, 2006.

Today, the ship is one of the distinguished historical museums in the city of Samsun and is a replica of the ferry on which Mustafa Kemal sailed to Samsun to start the War of Independence.

The guide approved by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture pointed out that the ship was turned into a museum to bear witness to the war led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to establish the Turkish Republic, as it became No. 1 out of 43 attractions in Samsun.

The ship’s museum includes the captain’s cabin, Ataturk’s bedroom, the deck, the kitchen, some wax statues of Mustafa Kemal and his companions, and historical photos, in addition to some of the ship’s original collectibles, such as the wall clock, telephone, map measuring materials, fire extinguisher, and the table and chairs manufactured in 1878.

Today, the ship museum is located in the National Struggle Park and inside Bandirma Beach in the Canik area in the state of Samsun in northern Turkey, where those in charge of it seek to give visitors a complete picture of the importance of this ship by telling them the smallest details.

The National Struggle Park and its open museum, which was established on an area of ​​​​35 thousand square meters, next to the Bandirma Ship Museum, also includes ceramic inscriptions symbolizing the war and the difficult struggle for the liberation and independence of Turkey, which continued from the Battle of Gallipoli until the enemy fell into the sea in Izmir.

The museum also includes the Martyrs’ Inscription, which is engraved with the names of 1,200 martyrs from Samsun and its environs who were lost in the War of Independence, as well as 10 bronze inscriptions describing the War of Independence, and the National Liberation Monument with seven figures, cannons and rifles.

It also includes torpedoes, submarines and mines that were used in the Turkish War of Independence, and military materials such as anti-aircraft guns and others are displayed.

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