99th anniversary of Gallipoli land campaign observed
Thursday, April 24, 2014
GALLIPOLI - Ministers and officials gathered on Thursday at the site of one of the First World War's bloodiest battles to pay respects to the thousands who died fighting in the notorious Gallipoli land campaign.
Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, speaking at the ceremony said that representatives of countries were in Turkey’s Aegean costal province of Canakkale to commemorate tens of thousand of soldiers who came from around the world and lost their lives here almost 100 years ago.
“The end of Gallipoli War, not only changed the result of the First World War, but also history,” Yilmaz added.
General Elrick Irastorza, Chairman of France’s 100th Commemoration Committee said that the sacrifice of those soldiers who came from far way, draws many to respect and to remember them.
John Newton, 80, an Australian visitor accompanied by his 45-year-old son Vern Newton spoke to Anadolu Agency and said he lost his father in the war, and came to Gallipoli to present a plaque to the Mayor of Gallipoli.
“Turkey is a very friendly, enjoyably country. I think friendship came to us through the war,” the 80-year-old Aussie says.
Bill McCarty, 81, from Australia describes his “moving” feeling as his uncle fought for the ANZACs against the Turks. “I feel great respect for them,” he says.
A dawn ceremony will take place at around 5.30am (local time) on Friday where around 10,000 people are expected to attend.
The Gallipoli War took place between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. Britain and France wanted to secure their ally Russia, as the peninsula provides a sea route to what was then the Russian Empire. Their aim was to capture the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul. Turks repelled a naval attack, and there were many casualties on both sides during the eight-month long offensive. When the land campaign also failed, the invading forces withdrew to Egypt.
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