Thousands of people met on the Gallipoli Peninsula for the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli (Çanakkale) Land Campaign.
The first ceremony was held at Gallipoli Martyrs' Monument. After a moment of silence and 21 gun-salute, Turkish flag was hoisted along with Turkish national anthem. Turkish President Abdullah Gül's message for the occasion was projected on a screen. In his message President Gül said Gallipoli Wars have become the means to give birth to strong friendships out of common pains.
Grandchildren of Mehmets of Turkey and Johnnies of New Zealand and Australia commemorated their forefathers in peace and friendship. New Zealanders and Australians continued commemoration of Anzac Day at dawn services. Thousands of youths stayed awake till morning in Kocadere district to attend the 57th Regiment march. At 4 a.m. in the morning, they ate wheat soup, the last meal given to the 57th Regiment, who all died during the battle. The youths walked the 4.5 km long road, just as their forefathers did 99 years ago, and ended their march at Chunuk Bair with a flag handover ceremony.
Speaking at the commemorations, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said the soldiers who mistakenly landed at Anzac Cove 99 years ago were, by their own admission, ordinary men.
“As the dawn of this new day breaks over the peninsula our tribute to the spirit of Anzac is a reverential silence,” he said. Some 8700 Australians died during the eight-month campaign alongside 2700 New Zealanders.
It’s estimated up to 87,000 Turks lost their lives.
The modern Turkish nation, too, was built partly on the back of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s success as a commander at Gallipoli. He went on to become the republic’s first president in 1923.