Ok. I’m going to try to make this as uncomplicated as possible.
If I manage to make it interesting as well as uncomplicated, it’ll really be something.
So. I feel that if you’re going to know anything about Turkey, you need to know about Mustafa Kamel. He’s framed in many a picture along the streets in Istanbul. He’s their hero. He transformed the 600 year old Ottoman Empire into the Turkish Republic in 1923. He was a military genius. You can think of him as our George Washington except I feel as though he is much more revered. Possibly because he’s a bit more current than Mr. Washington.
World War I. Turkey joined the Central Powers and because of their geographical location, saw a lot of action on their home front.
On day 1 of our trip we went to the most famous battlegrounds in Turkey. Famous because they were the only battles Turkey won in the war, and famous because of who came to fight.
Basically, men from Australia and New Zealand volunteered to join the war on behalf of the British Queen. So not only is this a huge battle for the Turks, the eight months of war changed the way Australia and New Zealand viewed their ‘relationship’ with Britain.
Think of it as how we view Pearl Harbor or D-day. Not the actual events but the importance and significance we place on them. And this battle has great importance to the Turks, Aussies and New Zealanders. The cove where so many landed in Turkey is actually named after the Aussies and New Zealanders and it was moving to see them there and listen to them sing along to a very sad song that actually does quite a nice job summarizing the events.
‘Those heroes who 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 in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosoms and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.’
Quite the memorial.
We were able to enjoy some time here to reflect on the beauty of the place and, as Selcuk often said, the ‘futility of war.’
I did find it quite sad to think of the chaos, horrors, death and blood that this peaceful cove had seen. This day was one of my highlights: to learn of other’s history and see it’s impact on those around you.
Well. I’m not sure if that was uncomplicated or interesting. At least the pictures are nice! Perhaps I’m just becoming a history buff. At any rate, I promise that next post will be an easier read.