Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Echoes of Gallipoli

By Russell Grenning - posted Monday, 25 June 2018

Under Erdogan, the Gallipoli re-enactment ritual has become more and more significantly an Islamic celebration. It was renamed the Loyalty March for the 57th Regiment and follows the eight km from the then regiment's base to the Gallipoli highlands. It was this regiment of the Ottoman Army led by Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal, later Ataturk ("The Father of Turks"), and the founder of modern Turkey, that prevented a Turkish defeat at Gallipoli.

Local university students first organised this commemoration in 2006 partly in response to the increasing numbers of Australian and New Zealand young people on the battlefield for Anzac Day. In 2005, the previous year, the Australian and New Zealand pilgrimage reached its zenith with about 17,000 participants. Within three years, there were 6,000 participants in the Turkish commemoration and numbers have grown considerably since.

Erdogan quickly recognised the domestic political benefits for his party and assumed control of it, His government began funding the cost of travel and living expenses of participants through the Ministry of Youth and Sports and it took over official registration and program coordination. The government has put emphasis on assisting youth from stronghold areas of Erdogan's party and he describes them as the "pious generation".


To further strengthen the fundamentalist Islamic tone of their celebrations, the government has imposed mandatory prayer sessions at the beginning and end of the march which it claims simulates the actions of the ordinary men of the 57th Regiment. There is also an increased recognition of individual martyrs through a focus on firsthand accounts of the religious zeal of Turkish soldiers fighting against an infidel invader of their homeland.

We have our Gallipoli heroes such as Simpson (and his donkey) so, understandably, do the Turks.

There were an estimated 250,000 – 350,000 Turkish casualties at Gallipoli and they remained in mass graves after the war reflecting the stigma of Ottoman history in republican Turkey. Turkey became a republic after the overthrow of the last Sultan Mehmet V1 Vahdittin in 1922.

There are three major memorials to British and ANZAC troops at Gallipoli, the Helles Memorial, Lone Pine Cemetery and the Chunuk Blair Cemetery. 

However, since 2005, eleven cemeteries have been built for the Turkish fallen and they have become popular sites for prayer for the one million plus Turkish visitors to the battlefield every year and another fifteen are proposed along with plans for accompanying outdoor mosques.

Erdogan and his government know that they cannot completely obliterate the history and memory of republican Turkey and its founder Ataturk, the heroic leader of the victorious 57th Regiment. The republic was founded as a secular state which Turkey remains at least in theory if not entirely in practice.





  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. Page 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Russell Grenning

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy