ISTANBUL - April 25 marks the 94th anniversary of the first landings of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC, at the Gallipoli peninsula in the ill-fated Allied campaign to take the Dardanelles Strait from the Ottoman Empire. The national anthems of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey were played after prayers and officials from the three countries laid wreaths at Anzac Cove. Speaking on behalf of the Turkish Armed Forces, Col. Murat İşözen said the Gallipoli battle was the scene of many firsts in terms of modern warfare. The Gallipoli battle created strong bonds of friendship between Turkey, Australia and New Zealand

94th anniversary of the Gallipoli battle marked

Thousands of Australians, New Zealanders and Turks gathered in northwestern Turkey early Friday to honor the memory of soldiers killed in the 1915 Gallipoli battle, one of the bloodiest in World War I.

An official ceremony to mark the 94th anniversary was hosted by the Second Army Command with Labor Minister Faruk Çelik, First Army Commander Gen. Ergin Saygun, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, Deputy Australian Chief of Staff David Hurley, New Zealand’s Governor General Anand Satyanand, United Kingdom Land Forces Commander Richard Dannat and members of other countries present, reported the Anatolia news agency.

İşözen said the remarks of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, cemented the ties of friendship between these nations. Atatürk’s remarks inscribed at Anzac Cove read: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. You are now living 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 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."
Following the landings, in the ensuing eight months of fighting, about 11,500 ANZAC troops were killed, fighting alongside British, Indian and French soldiers. Turkey, the successor of the Ottoman Empire, puts its own losses at some 86,000. Every April, thousands of Australians and New Zealanders, many of them young backpackers, make the pilgrimage to the historic peninsula to commemorate the grueling battle that was their first real test of World War I.

The national anthems of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey were played after prayers and officials from the three countries laid wreaths at Anzac Cove.