TTN: Turkish tourism operators and Australian travellers wanting to attend 2015 Centenary celebrations at Gallipoli (Gelibolu) in Turkey are being managed by the heavy-handed Australian government. Despite a huge peninsula of space available for emotional and profitable services, the Turkish government has decreed that ‘no non-official activities will be allowed to occur on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 24-25 April 2015.
Gallipoli ban to hit Anzac services
Immediately after the closure, Turkish security forces will sweep the area in a search of unauthorised visitors, a move likely to provoke comparisons with the events on the peninsula when Australian forces landed at dawn on Anzac beach.
Next year, numbers will be limited to 10,500 — 8000 Australians and 2000 New Zealanders, who have won places in government-run ballots, plus 500 VIPs and international dignitaries.
Thousands of Australians who missed out on balloted places were planning to take part in alternative dawn services conducted by tour operators on beaches near the official site. They have booked and paid for their trips.
In an advisory posted on its Gallipoli 2015 web site, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs says: “Strict entry arrangements, identification checks and security enforcement by Turkish authorities will apply at Gallipoli for the Anzac Day commemorations in 2015.
“There will be no opportunity for those who do not hold official attendance passes to gain entry to the commemorative sites.
“The government of Turkey has also advised that no non-official activities will be allowed to occur on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 24-25 April 2015,” thus ruling out the unofficial dawn services.
The head of Military History Tours, Colonel Paul Murphy (ret), said while it had been known the commemoration area north of Anzac Beach would be closed, banning visitors from the entire peninsula was a “heavy-handed surprise”.
“It means that those people who do not hold tickets will be sitting in hotels or on ships unable to visit other battle sites,” he said.
Maggie Bootsman of Glenelg East, South Australia, who booked four years ago to go with her husband and four friends, described the move as “outrageous”. Her husband, Nick Bird, 51, is a retired RAN lieutenant commander.
“The trip was to be a culmination and celebration of Nick having spent 27 years with the Royal Australian Navy,” she said. “We planned and organised the trip well in advance … and we are now left stranded.”
She has sent a fax to Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson asking for a review. He has not responded.
Turkey’s ambassador for the Gallipoli events, Hasan Asan, had offered an alternative to people without tickets, a DVA spokesman said. Large television screens will be erected at Canakkale, across the Dardanelles waterway from the peninsula.
Disclosure: The Australian has a commercial arrangement with Military History Tours.
O’Farrell slams Turkey for Gallipoli ‘ban’
From The Australian, 22nd August 2013
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has hit out at Turkey for threatening to ban MPs from Anzac Day services, after parliament officially recognised the Ottoman genocide of Armenians.
The NSW legislative council in May passed a motion calling for the official recognition of the Assyrian, Armenian and Greek genocides.
Turkey says the motion is not compatible with historic facts.
Turkish consul-general Gulseren Celik said on Wednesday as a result of that Mr O’Farrell and other NSW MPs would be denied visas to attend the Gallipoli service.
Mr O’Farrell says such a ban would fly in the face of the freedom Australian diggers fought for.
“What a terrible indictment by the consul-general of the freedoms fought for on Gallipoli,” he told reporters.
Mr O’Farrell added that he would prefer to see the descendants of Gallipoli veterans, not politicians, at commemoration services.