ANZAC DAY: How Australia And Turkey Moved On From War

Over the past 50 years or so, the relationship between Australia and Turkey has prospered in different sectors, particularly trade, education, and tourism

ANZAC DAY: How Australia And Turkey Moved On From War

ANZAC Day, celebrated on April 25th each year, is a National Day of Remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. It honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I.  

The Gallipoli Campaign was a military campaign fought by the Allied forces against the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The ANZAC forces were tasked with landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey and taking control of the Dardanelles, a strategic waterway that connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. However, the campaign was unsuccessful, and the ANZAC forces suffered heavy losses. 

Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, France, India, and the Newfoundland army continued the war against the Mujahideen of the Ottoman Empire. Australia and New Zealand sent more than 100,000 soldiers to fight against the Ottoman Empire in this war. According to historians, a total of 130,000 European allies and 87,000 soldiers of the Ottoman Empire were killed. At least 8,700 Australian soldiers and 2,779 New Zealand soldiers were killed. 

ANZAC Day is a solemn occasion that honours the courage, sacrifice, and service of the ANZAC soldiers and all the men and women who have served and died for the armed forces of Australia and New Zealand since. The day is marked by various ceremonies, including dawn services, wreath-laying ceremonies, marches, and other events across the two countries. The most significant commemoration takes place at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove in Turkey.

ANZAC Day is an important day in the Australian national calendar, and today, it is widely recognised as a day of remembrance, reflection, and gratitude for the contributions of the ANZAC soldiers and all who have served and sacrificed for their countries.

Despite the campaign's failure, the ANZAC soldiers demonstrated great courage and bravery, and their sacrifice became a symbol of national identity and pride for Australians and New Zealanders. ANZAC Day was first observed in 1916 and has been observed annually ever since.

Apart from being a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers and the impact of war on society, it has become an important part of the national identity of Australia and New Zealand and is a day to honour and pay respect to the brave men and women who have served their country.

The deaths of Australian soldiers are commemorated with a national holiday. Relatives of dead soldiers are invited, and military parades are held in cities. Awards are distributed to soldiers who have delivered extraordinary services for the country in the year.

Top military officials and civil representatives of Australia and New Zealand begin the day with a cannon salute as the sun rises on the Turkish coast of Gallipoli. Australian, New Zealand and Turkish military personnel salute Australian and New Zealand ambassadors and senior Turkish officials. On ANZAC Day, Australia and New Zealand also pay tribute to deceased soldiers in provincial and national parliaments. The leaders of Australia and New Zealand educate their people about the importance and achievements of their military.

The war between Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand began the First World War. The war between the Ottoman Empire and Europe lasted for several years. Finally, the Ottoman Empire was defeated, and thus, it lost the war not only in Turkey but also in occupied Eastern Europe. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire also brought to an end the great Islamic period in many regions of the Middle East.

At the end of the same war, Britain liberated the Middle East from the Turks and divided the Gulf region into different states, awarding tribal leaders leadership of each state. Today, these states are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Oman, etc. All of them were once part of the Ottoman Empire.

Friendly relations between Australia and Turkey did not develop until 1967, when Australia and Turkey established diplomatic relations. In 1968, the Turkish embassy was established in the Australian capital, Canberra, and Turkish consulates were established in Sydney and Melbourne. Along with this, Australia also opened its embassy in Ankara.

Australia opened its doors to Turkish citizens in the fifties, sixties, and mid-seventies. Several Turks from Turkey settled in Australia on various visas and flourished into a viable Australian Muslim community. Over the past 50 years or so, the relationship between Australia and Turkey has prospered in different sectors, particularly trade, education, and tourism.

The author is a Sydney-based journalist, a multicultural community representative, and the winner of the NSW Harmony Award in 2015.