16 June 2017

Turkish Islamist push may be to blame for removal of Atatürk inscription at Anzac Cove

The Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has removed from a revered Anzac Cove memorial the familiar words attributed to Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, likening Australia’s dead “Johnnies” to Ottoman “Mehmets” and welcoming them to rest in his country’s soil.

The renovation of the 1985 monument has heightened suspicions in Australia and Turkey that the refurbished memorial could reflect a growing Islamist interpretation by the Erdogan administration of Australia’s part in the 1915 British-commanded Anzac invasion of – and later retreat from – Gallipoli.

The near demolition of the monument bearing Atatürk’s words, which began in mid to late May, is part of a process of “restoration” of all Turkish memorials and epitaphs on the Gallipoli peninsula. But sources in Australia and Turkey believe the motivations behind the restorations could be in part political and are likely to reflect Turkey’s greater emphasis on religion in history and culture under Erdogan. [The Guardian] Read more