The 108th anniversary of the Land Battle for Canakkale is being celebrated in appropriate ways throughout the Republic of Turkey, and Anzac Day is being celebrated throughout Australia and New Zealand, Anadolia reports.
Also known in Europe as the Battle of Gallipoli, it is one of the bloodiest and fiercest battles in the First World War, and according to many indicators, in history in general.
The naval battle took place between November 3, 1914 and March 18, 1915, while the land battle lasted from April 25, 1915 to January 9, 1916. These are the battles that occupy the most significant place in the history of Turkey and beyond.
On this day in 1915, nine months after the start of the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of Gallipoli with the intention of opening the Canakkale Strait for the Allied fleet to attack Istanbul. However, the allied forces encountered strong and brave resistance from the Turks and failed in their aim.
Anzac Village, where the anniversary of the land battle is traditionally celebrated, is actually an acronym that permanently reminds of the participation of the Australian and New Zealand armies in that battle.
Anzac Day is also celebrated across Australia and New Zealand today.
So close to 2,000 Australians and New Zealanders came to Turkiye and attended the traditional vigil and memorial mass at Gallipoli.
Many gathered spent the night on site in sleeping bags and blankets in the cold, waiting for the ceremony to begin while watching documentaries and interviews about the battles fought for Canakkale.
Australian Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh and New Zealand Defense Minister Andrew Little spoke about the significance of this day.
The famous letter of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, to the families of foreign soldiers who lost their lives in battle was also read.
More than 44,000 British, Irish, French, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, and Canadian soldiers were killed in the fighting that lasted eight months, as well as nearly 87,000 Ottoman soldiers.
New Zealand Minister Little told Anatolia that Anzac Day is important for his country.
“Many New Zealanders came to fight here at Gallipoli, and many fell and gave their lives here. It was also the time when Australians and New Zealanders forged a bond that continues to this day. So, the connection and experiences of New Zealanders with Gallipoli are very strong,” said Little.
He said they felt “welcomed” when they came to Gallipoli, adding that diplomatic and trade ties between Turkey and New Zealand were growing stronger.
Australian Minister Keogh also said that it was a privilege to be in Gallipoli and expressed his condolences and good wishes to Turkish citizens affected by the great earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people on February 6 this year.
“We did not come here to glorify war. We have come to pay our respects, to honor those who sacrificed their lives, limbs, minds and souls in the war,” said Keogh.
Chris Cole said he immigrated to New Zealand 40 years ago and has been interested in Anzac ever since.
“It was a wonderful day for me to understand the friendship between Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever seen,” said Cole.
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