June 11, 2013 by brasiersarah
On the 25th of April 1915 1,500 ANZAC, Indian, Greek and British forces were suppose to land here at Brighton Beach. ANZAC troops under the direction of British naval officers landed some 6km north of the planned landing point. That landing point is now called ANZAC cove.Months before this day, the Turkish employed the British to build them two war ships. The British went ahead with the constriction of these ships after the payment from the Ottoman empire and what could have been a close relationship between two Empires. On the 4th of August, Britan declared war on Germany in response to Germanys invasion of Belgium. After the declaration of war the British reneged on the battleship deal with the Ottoman empire, reasoning that they needed all the war ships they could get in light of the new war. This gave Germany the perfect opportunity to form a new ally. In August the Ottoman empire formed the Turco-German alliance and officially opened their alliance with the bombing of Russian Black Sea ports on the 28th of October. Britan was forced to declare war on the Ottoman Empire on November the 4th, WW1 was now officially in full swing. This was the series of events that lead to the deaths of 37 million people over 5 years.It’s hard to distinguish between the two beaches but the incline on this beach is significantly steeper than the intended landing point. They landed and pushed forward to climb Plugge’s Plateau under the fire of the Turkish reserve Army and managed to claim it in just 40 minutes. As the Turkish retreated they ran into Turkish officer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He asked them why they were running away and they explained that there was no ammunition left to fight. He told them “I have not sent you here to fight, I have sent you here to die” and with that they fixed their bayonets and took up firing positions. The ANZACs saw this and in return took up their own firing positions leading to a temporary stalemate. This gave the Turkish reinforcements enough time to make it to Anzac cove and bolster the Turkish defence. If Atatürk had not commanded the troops to hold their ground the ANZACs would have made it to Chunuk Bair that day and may have won the assault on Galipoli.This is a picture of Anzac Cove under the control of the ANZACs.Many Australian Farmers, business men and high school kids where sent to Egypt for just two months of training before they set off to battle in WW1. When they landed at Anzac cove they labeled this point the Sphinx.This would be their home for the next 8 months, a hell on earth. Through that time troops on both sides endured torrential rains, blistering heat and the freezing cold. Strong bonds between soldiers where formed only to be slashed by the searing heat of a stay bullet.Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a military officer for the Ottoman Empire, after the collapse of the empire he went on to be the first president of Turkey. He is plastered all around Turkey in every convenience store and school, he is praised by the Turks. He made what the country is today and I can understand the respect. He wrote these heartfelt words to the mothers of the ANZAC troops. “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well” -Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. I Thought that was an amazing sentiment from a man that was at Gallipoli and was struck by shrapnel from an invading force. He had no obligation to say those words about men trying to breach his country, but he did and for that he has earned my respect. They called it the last gentleman’s war and pictured is a perfect example of that. Sculpted in memory of the ethics the troops held true, is a Turk carrying an ANZAC trooper. The story goes that after an advance from the ANZACs one was left wounded in no mans land and crying out in pain. One of the Turkish soldiers off his own back raised the white flag left his trench and his gun to pick up the enemy. While everyone held their fire the soldier carried his invader into the arms of his fellow troops. He then walked back to his trench unharmed and once back they continued their battle. The battle of Lone Pine was held between the pine you see in the picture and the end of the cemetery. Over 3 days between 7,227 and 9,227 soldiers died, captain Harold Jacobs of the 1st Battalion, remarked “the trench is so full of our dead that the only respect that we could show them was not to tread on their faces. This was the biggest loss of life in the shortest amount of time in the Gallipoli campaign and for a mere gain of 150m of ground. After the three days there was an unofficial truce called so the armies could take their dead and bury them. It’s said that after the dead were buried both sides mingled with each other sharing food and cigarettes until they were eventually called back to the trenches to continue fighting. This is the distance between the trenches, the winding road up to Chunuk Bair (The high ground of the Gallipoli peninsula and the goal of the ANZAC troops) is consciously paved between the trenches. It give you a vivid picture of how closely fought and intense the war was.This was the highest moment of victory for the ANZACS, the conquest of Chunuk Bair. It was in fact the New Zealanders that held this point for two days before being driven back by the Turkish. While the Australian infantry used a diversionary attack and the British attempted to land in a bay further north, the Kiwis took the objective. But many lives where lost that day because lack of communication between the Allies. The plan was for the British navy to bombard the trenches until a certain time and while the Turks were recovering the ground force would attack. The British navy stopped the bombardment short a few minutes giving the Turkish soldiers enough time to recover. The Kiwis still attacked showing great courage managed to make ground but at the loss of many soldiers. Over two nights (18th-20th of December) 20,000 ANZAC troops evacuated Anzac cove leaving behind self firing rifles and props of their former selfs. This was the most successful mission though the whole campaign leaving no loss of life. It is recorded that the Turkish troops were completely unaware of the evacuation, it is also whispered that the Turkish knew and saw no reason to fire on retreating soldiers. Although 20,000 troops escaped on those two nights 56,643 Ottomans, 34,072 from the United Kingdom, 9,798 French, 8,709 Australians, 2,721 New Zealanders, 1,358 Indians and 49 Canadians died. Over 8 months 2 weeks and 1 day 113,350 soldiers died in the Gallipoli Campaign. This is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and he still keeps watch over Chunuk Bair and the nation of Turkey. The Gallipoli campaign was a mess of mistakes leading to a massive loss of life. It also was the birth of a new nation, a nation rich with history and a unrivalled hospitality. Another of what seemed like pointless loss of life. I have seen so many examples of what seems like a erratic cull of human breath and I have to wonder why that over thousands of years have we not learnt our lesson? We are in the seemingly slow process of human evolution the never ending course of trial and error. I know we have improved, we now actively make steps toward reducing collateral damage but we haven’t completely eliminated it. We protest war, house enemy refugees and send aid to those who need it and if you look at history we are improving. But where will this path take us? Will we eventually reach a nirvana on the road of war and what will that be? Will it be a of total peace between humans or total peace of the world left by the extinction of the human race. Only time will tell.These were the protests being held in Çanakkale, this was our first glimpse into the protests held all over Turkey. The protest is in response to the government’s actions during the weekend before. A fairly mild protest shadowed by the battles being held in Istanbul, Ankara and other major cities. Stay tuned for the next post and you will see the full brutality of the Istanbul police department.