Snapshots of Gallipoli, Turkey / by Steven Johnson

I don't think Gallipoli needs any introduction for us Australians, it is almost our Mecca, and is a big part of our identity as a nation. The Gallipoli peninsula is basically broken up into two main areas of interest. The northern area is centred around ANZAC Cove and Lone Pine where the ANZACs famously fought their battles. The southern area, near the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, was where the British and French forces tried to make their advance in to Turkish soil, and was where the sea battle on the Dardanelles was focused prior to the ANZAC advancement. The whole region is very important for the Turkish also as it is where they fought for their independence and much like Australia is a big part of their identity. Exploring the battle sites, monuments, cemeteries and museums in the area you really get a feel for how important this piece of history was to Turkey, and you also get a feel for the mutual respect that the Turks and ANZACs had for each other.

To visit the famous battle zones of Gallipoli was a very moving experience. To see, and walk in, the remains of the trenches was definitely an experience I will remember. Watching the sun rise on top of the hill at Lone Pine was a fantastic and yet solemn experience, and walking in to the ANZAC Cove Cemetery gave me shivers. Seeing ANZAC Cove in person you really get a feel for how doomed the soldiers must have felt on that fateful landing with the huge cliffs and mountain side overlooking the beach, yet it is hard to imagine what really would have been going through their minds and the horrific experience that it would have been. So many soldiers from both sides lost their lives here and all the while the area itself is such a beautiful place!

At ANZAC Cove there is a monument displaying the words (below) of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who led the Turkish forces against the ANZACs and later became the first president of Turkey. These words display the mutual respect that the Turks and ANZACs have for each other and are worth repeating.

"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." Ataturk, 1934

Now for some photos.