25 Apr 2014 4 Comments
Yesterday and today at dawn, many Turks, Australians and New Zealanders commemorated the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli wars and the death. This is post I have written 4 years ago. But I don’t think anything has changed.
It was clear to the Allied commanders, after their attempt to force the Dardanelles by the naval alone, failed dramatically in 18 March; ground troops were needed to silence the Turkish defenses along the Strait.
On the dawn of 25th April after more a month of preparation and planning British, French and ANZAC troops landed on the beach on Gallipoli and Anatolia. This was the beginning of the one of the gruesome campaigns of the First World War.
For the next 8 and half months over 200.000 soldiers of all participants were either killed, wounded, hospitalized by illness or went missing.
The Gallipoli wars were particularly important for Turks, Australians and New Zealanders. Although the ANZAC came to our home as invaders there is a special bond between these nations. Long forgotten are the atrocities of the war. Every year thousands of Aussies and Kiwis come to Çanakkale and visit the battleground and attend the dawn service in Anzac Cove (now this is the official name of the cove). I do not know any other commemoration where two former enemies join to remember their fallen soldiers.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who personally fought against the ANZAC’s in Gallipoli, later wrote in 1934 for his former advisories the following words:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmet’s to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.