Sept 11, 2010 – Gallipoli, Turkey
We started early for the day trip to Gallipoli. We were picked up from the hotel and we enjoyed the 3.5 hour bus ride because the roads are really good. Not bumpy and the scenery is quite stunning.
Gallipoli is a significant tourist spot for Australians and New Zealanders as the ANZAC soldiers as part of the Allied forces fought valiantly in this place during WWI. The legendary Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was leading the Ottoman army and the Allied forces were defeated in the Gallipoli campaign (1915). A few years later, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk led the Turkish National movement and established the Republic of Turkey.
Read more about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Now there is a Museum and then a memorial with grave stones of every soldier who was killed here. The Aegean sea is blue and a great backdrop for the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park and the Canakkale Martyrs Memorial.
We walked around both these memorials and the war museum before returning to Istanbul.
The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial is on a hill and its a nice walk up. The weather was very hot and I struggled a bit with the heat. Greece is just across the sea from this location. As expected there were many tourists who were Australians and New Zealanders.
Wars leave behind grieving families and memorials. But something good came out of this campaign – the Republic of Turkey. Am just not sure if the huge number of casualties (nearly 500,000 soldiers between the allied forces and the Ottoman army) was justified. History will gauge that.
After notes :
The republic of Turkey was setup as a progressive, secular republic. When we visited in 2010, Christians and Muslims lived in great harmony. Turkey was not in the grip of fundamentalist Islam. Unfortunately Mr. Erdogan, who was a Presidential candidate in 2010, won the elections. Today we see Turkey being non-secular in every way !! Hagia Sophia and Chora Church are converted into Mosques. The social fabric is changing rapidly.
Remembering Turkey the way it was ….