View of the Anzac Cove memorial at the Anzacs landing site during World War I in Canakkale, Turkey. This year marks the 106th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. Photo / AP
A small group gathered Saturday on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula to commemorate British and Ottoman soldiers who died during World War I.
The commemorative meeting celebrates the 106th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. Soldiers from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Newfoundland, South Africa and France fought and died during an international operation that began with landings on the peninsula on April 25, 1915.
So it was with the Ottoman soldiers fighting to protect their homeland, here, said Pastor Patrick Irwin at the Cape Helles memorial site.
The Helles Memorial is a Commonwealth battle memorial for the entire Gallipoli Campaign, as well as a site for remembering soldiers without known graves. The British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir Dominic Chilcott, gave a welcoming address on Saturday.
Turkey and France hold separate memorial services for their fallen soldiers. All commemorative events are kept secret this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, Australians and New Zealanders celebrate Anzac Day in memory of their fallen soldiers. The dawn ceremony will be held in Turkey.
During the Gallipoli Campaign, Allied forces aimed to gain control of the peninsula to weaken the Ottoman Empire. The campaign failed, and the Allies withdrew after eight months of ground fighting and some 250,000 casualties on both sides.
The Ottoman victory did not prevent the end of the Ottoman Empire but encouraged Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a commander in Gallipoli, to lead Turkey’s war of independence.