Korean War Legacy Project

Veli Atasoy


Veli Atasoy served in the Turkish Army as part of the medic unit during the Korean War. Taken prisoner during the Battle of Kunu-ri, aka Battle of Wawon, he spent over three years in a Prisoner of War (POW) Camp. His faith in Islam and Allah “above” helped him get through imprisonment. He was instrumental in helping other Turkish troops survive the harsh conditions near Pyoktong, North Korea. The imprisonment shaped Veli Atasoy’s life and continues to impact him today. However, he is proud of his military service. He is also gratified by the success of the Korean people.

Video Clips


Veli Atasoy describes life after being taken as a Prisoner-of-War (POW). He, along with other prisoners were held near the city of Pyoktong, a city in North Korea near the Chinese border. While a prisoner, the Chinese military tried, unsuccessfully, to use propaganda to convince the Turkish troops to switch sides. There were massive infestations of lice in the camp and even a "fake" Sergeant. Veli Atasoy describes how, above all, even in the most dire of situations he turned to Allah above.

Tags: Cheongcheongang (River),Kunwoori,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Food,Home front,Letters,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW,Pride

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Battle of Kunu-ri

Veli Atasoy describes the fighting conditions at the Battle of Kunu-ri. There were many casualties of the Turkish troops and to evacuate, therefore approximately twenty five men were needed per Jeep. The person in command took a wrong turn into harm's way. The Chinese had surrounded the entire area and eventually killed many Americans, but spared Veli Atasoy and many of his fellow Turkish troops. After that the men walked under armed escort to Pyoktong, near the Chinese-North Korean border.

Tags: Kunwoori,Chinese,Communists,Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction,POW

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Pride and Family during Imprisonment

Veli Atasoy describes his pride in South Korea. He sacrificed so much being imprisoned, subsequently he is more prideful of his service in Korea than his native country of Turkey. While imprisoned, he had no communication with his family. His family had no news and even asked the Turkish government about their son. Therefore a certain hardship of not knowing and suffering occurred between Veli Atasoy and his family occurred.

Tags: Chinese,Civilians,Home front,Letters,North Koreans,POW,Pride

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