Nuri Köstüklü

Keywords: World War I, Military Internees, Ottoman State, Poland, Polish prisoners of war in Turkey

Abstract

One of the tragic and disregarded facts about the First World War is the issue of "internees". In the course of the war, thousands of Ottoman soldiers were confined as internees by the Allies, and Turkey interned a large number of the allied states' soldiers as internees as well. Among the military men in the Russian army, there were also some Polish national soldiers who were interned as prisoners by the Ottoman army during the First World War. It is perceived that Turkey was always in an attempt to keep those Polish national internees and the other nationals of the allied states in various locations in Anatolia within the bounds of those days' possibility in incomparably better conditions than that of Turkish internees confined by the Allies abroad. Taking the existing legal and allied policies into consideration, Turkish community took steps in search of favourable ways to treat especially those Polish national internees with tolerance within the scope of Turkish - Polish amity. As a harsh reality of combat conditions, of course, it sometimes became inevitable for some internees to lose their lives. In consequence of this research, some detailed identity tags belonging to 213 Polish soldiers who lost their lives until April 1918 were determined. In the light of available findings, it is probable that this quantity will increase by making use of further information and documents which could be discovered in the future. The majority of the Polish soldiers whose identity tags have been able to be determined are ascertained to have died of certain diseases which were common during that period.