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WWI letters of Ottoman soldiers to reach families + PHOTOS

A pile of letters written by Ottoman soldiers held captive by the British Army during the First World War will be delivered to their grandchildren, according to the Turkish Red Crescent Society director-general.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ibrahim Altan said the aid agency already delivered during wartime letters of around 12,000 Ottoman soldiers, held as prisoners of war by the British Army in present-day Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, to their families.


"In this regard, Kizilay [Turkish Red Crescent] was the most significant and safest bridge [between the soldiers and their families]," he said.

Some of the letters which could not reach the correct addresses at that time have recently been archived by the Turkish Red Crescent Society, and will now be delivered to the soldiers’ grandchildren, he added.


Among the letters, one was written by 25-year-old Huseyin Mustafa from Turkey’s northwestern Kastamonu province. Another belongs to Haci Dede from the capital Ankara who wrote he had been held captive for three years.

Thousands of Ottoman soldiers were held captive after the British occupied the Iraqi city of Basra in early 1917. Most of those soldiers are believed to have martyred at prison camps in Rakhine state -- which was a part of India at that time.

The initiative has been taken by the Turkish Red Crescent -- which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2018. 

The Turkish Red Crescent Society, since it was established in 1868, has been helping the wounded in battlefield and has provided humanitarian aid around the world.