Turkey hosts world leaders on centenary of Battle of Gallipoli
The battle was crucial for raising national consciousness for the young nations of Australia and New Zealand, as they witnessed the passion of Turks for their land and freedom.
The Battle of Gallipoli, where tens of thousands of soldiers from all walks of life on both sides sacrificed their lives, is being remembered on its 100th anniversary today on the Gallipoli peninsula with the participation of all sides’ today representatives.
Fallen soldiers, who fought in the nine-month-long battle between the German-backed Ottoman forces and Allies formed by Australian, British and New Zealand, today lie close together in separate cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula.
The Gallipoli martyrdom thus seen as a powerful symbol for reconciliation and peace, which fund its meaning in the following words of a then Ottoman commander at Gallipoli, lieutenant colonel named Mustafa Kemal, who later given name Atatürk after the "Turkish War of Independence" leading to the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
“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 Mehmets to us where they lie side by side 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."
Thus, to mark both the Gallipoli Victory and the meaning it symbolizes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited leaders of the World War I Allies including Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia, New Zealand Premier John Key, as well as the heir to the British throne Prince Charles and his son Harry.
President Erdoğan said in a message ahead of the ceremonies, "We paid a high price for the Gallipoli Victory. Yet we should not forget that we owe our current independent state to that spirit and perseverance that we showed."
The ceremonies started on Friday at the shores which the Allied troops launched their attacks, but confronted with a fierce Ottoman resistance lasting until the last Allied troops left the peninsula in January 1916.
On Saturday, ceremonies will begin with the dawn services, known as Anzac Day on April 25, the date of the landing of thousands of soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), to commemorate the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives thousands of miles away from home.
Anzac Day has been joined by thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who have travelled a really long journey to be in Gallipoli to remember their ancestors.