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Mustafa Şekip Birgöl (1903 – November 11, 2008), a retired Turkish colonel, was the last veteran of the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1923).

Mustafa Şekip Birgöl
Born1903
Üsküdar, İstanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died(2008-11-11)November 11, 2008 (aged 105)
Haydarpaşa, Istanbul, Turkey
Buried
Allegiance Turkey
Service/branchTurkish Army
Years of service1921–1952
RankColonel
Battles/warsTurkish War of Independence
AwardsMedal of Independence with red ribbon

BiographyEdit

He was born 1903 in Üsküdar, a suburb of Istanbul, into a family of naval officers. Mustafa Şekip Birgöl graduated from Işıklar Military Secondary School in Bursa before attending Kuleli High School in Edirne. After finishing the Military Academy in Istanbul, he joined Kuvayi Milliye under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal to fight against the Allies partitioning the Ottoman Empire after it was defeated in World War I. A second-lieutenant in the 45th regiment of the 15th division, he fought in the western Anatolian region of Afyon and took part in the recapturing of Izmir from Greek troops on September 9, 1922.[1][2]

Following the declaration of the republic in 1923, Birgol returned to his unit at the Black Sea city of Samsun, where he stayed until 1928. While he was stationed in Sarıkamış, Bayburt and Muğla, he was active at some campaigns against rebellions that took place following the Independence War. Later, he served in Çanakkale, Ezine and Gelibolu. He retired from the army on September 13, 1952 with the rank of colonel.[1][2]

Mustafa Şekip Birgöl was awarded in 1927 the Medal of Independence with red ribbon.[2]

He died on November 11, 2008 at the age of 105 at the GATA Haydarpaşa Military Hospital in Istanbul. As the last veteran of the Independence War, he was honored with a state funeral held on November 13 at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, attended by President Abdullah Gül, Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan, Chief of the General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, leaders of the main opposition parties in the parliament and statesmen, politicians and other high-level officials.[3] His remains were brought to Istanbul and interred on November 14 at Karacaahmet Cemetery following a religious ceremony at Selimiye Mosque next to the Selimiye Barracks.[4][5]

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