Fam­i­lies stream to bat­tle­fields 100 years af­ter Gal­lipoli


Fam­i­lies of sol­diers who served in the Gal­lipoli cam­paign of World War I, along with world lead­ers, streamed onto the battle sites on Fri­day for cer­e­monies mark­ing 100 years since the Bri­tish-led in­va­sion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of coun­tries that faced off in one of the most iconic events of the war were hon­or­ing the dead in a joint cer­e­mony, on the eve of the cen­te­nary since troops landed on beaches here.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and Bri­tain’s Prince Charles were ex­pected to lay wreaths at a me­mo­rial for the fallen Turk­ish sol­diers at Gal­lipoli be­fore the cer­e­monies move to the Bri­tish me­mo­rial site, where Prince Harry, Charles’ son, is sched­uled to de­liver a speech.

The main events are sched­uled for Satur­day, the an­niver­sary of the dawn land­ings by troops — mostly from Australia and New Zealand — who were rowed in to nar­row beaches with scant cover only to en­counter rugged hills and fire from well con­cealed Turk­ish de­fend­ers.

The doomed Al­lied of­fen­sive aimed to se­cure a naval route from the Mediter­ranean to Istanbul through the Dardanelles, and take the Ot­tomans out of the war. It re­sulted in over 130,000 deaths and came to be seen as a folly of Bri­tish war plan­ning. Around 44,000 Al­lied troops died in the cam­paign about 86,000 were killed on the Ot­toman side.

The cam­paign, how­ever, helped forge na­tional iden­ti­ties for coun­tries on both sides.

Mustafa Ke­mal Ataturk used his promi­nence as a com­man­der at Gal­lipoli, known as Canakkale to the Turks, to vault into promi­nence, lead Turkey’s War of In­de­pen­dence and ul­ti­mately found the Turk­ish Repub­lic.

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