On August 24, 2020, in honor of the 949th anniversary on August 26 of the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, Turkey's Ministry of Communication released a music video titled the "Red Apple March." Seeking to present the modern Turkish military as the heir to the militaries of Turkish states stretching back 1,000 years, including the Ottoman empire and the Seljuks, the clip cuts between images of the Turkish military, including special forces, tanks, fighter jets, attack helicopters, rockets, naval vessels, and images of men in Ottoman and Seljuk military garb. The video also shows the Turkish drill ships Fatih and Oruç Reis, which have recently been drilling and searching for natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
One section of the video features footage of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan walking past a row of soldiers, cut with footage of an actor portraying an Ottoman sultan doing the same. As an Ottoman military band plays outside, the actor, along with others portraying Sultan Alparslan, who led the Seljuk army to victory at the Battle of Manzikert, Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, and a child soldier from the Battle of Gallipoli, enter the Hagia Sophia Mosque and pray as audio of President Erdoğan reciting the opening verses of Surah Al-Fath ("Conquest") plays in the background. The video shows Islamic structures including the Kaaba in Mecca, and closes showing the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
The music features the zurna, a wind instrument central in the traditional Ottoman military band, giving the music a distinctly "Ottoman" sound. The lyrics mix religious and nationalistic imagery and refer to the Kızıl Elma ("Red Apple"), a concept from Turkish mythology that has sometimes has been used to refer to world domination and at other times has referred to a particular military goal by a Turkish state and, once that goal has been achieved, some other goal becomes the "Red Apple," making it ever-elusive.
Upon the release of the video, Communications Minister Fahrettin Altun tweeted: "For us, the Red Apple is a great and powerful Turkey. It is the blessed march of our nation, which has written legends from Manzikert to July 15, [2016, i.e., the attempted coup in Turkey]. The Red Apple is the great sycamore tree in the shade of which many oppressed [peoples] cool themselves. It is what all people from Gibraltar to the Hijaz, from the Balkans to Asia, await wishfully."
To view the clip of the Turkish government music video on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"Only With The Conquest Of The Red Apple Will The World Find Tranquility And Peace"
Lyrics: "The goal of the Red Apple will be reached only with the lives [lost] on the way. The promised divine light and truth will certainly dominate forever. Only with the conquest of the Red Apple will the world find tranquility and peace. We are coming, oh glorious red flag, with the love of every corner and township of the homeland.
"May the sounds of 'Allah Akbar' rise to the ninth heaven. Shielding is the Turk's military life, the honor and dignity of our heroic land. May the sound of 'Allah Akbar' rise to the ninth heaven. Allah! Allah! We will not turn back! Strike so that the tyrant wails, may the seven worlds hear our sound of freedom.
"Come, My Turkey, For The Love Of Allah[,] Put Another Stamp On History"
"My glorious Turkey, we are connected at the heart to the red flag and the dear homeland. Those crazy Turks, for the sake of the crescent, will give their heads anywhere in the world. Come, my Turkey, for the love of Allah. Put another stamp on history. O great nation, on behalf of the homeland, [you've come] to inspire the generations again.
"Like Our Ancestors, Who Wrote History With Victories... Forward March!"
"This blood is Sultan Alparslan, who reared up at Manzikert, Osman I, at the founding. The Sultan of the world, who was given good news of conquests and the child heroes at Gallipoli. This same blood comes from the ancestors. It is writing legends again in resurgence. The world is waiting for 'There is no god but Allah.' The destination is the Red Apple, we will not despair. Like Alparslan who reared up at Manzikert, like our ancestors, who wrote history with victories, like our grandfather, who closed one age and opened another, our goal is the Red Apple. Forward march!"
President Erdogan: "[The Quran says:] 'Indeed, We have given you a clear conquest... And Allah may grant you a mighty victory.'"