I saw this interesting article that brings together my recent interests in Australia’s Anzac story of WWI, and more recent events related to Islamic extremism.
Turkish Islamist push may be to blame for removal of Atatürk inscription at Anzac Cove
“The Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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 Erdoğan administration of Australia’s part in the 1915 British-commanded Anzac invasion of – and later retreat from – Gallipoli.”
“Historians in Australia and Turkey believe the ‘refurbishment’ could be part of the Erdoğan administration’s moves to cast Gallipoli as part of a clash between jihadi defenders (the Ottoman empire did declare a jihad) and invading crusaders on the shores of Islam.
Peter Stanley, an author of more than 30 books, many about the first world war, and a professor of history at the University of New South Wales Canberra, said the erasure of the purported Atatürk words reflected a “new theocratic interpretation” of the conflict in Turkey.
‘It’s not always apparent to Australian visitors to Gallipoli, who tend to focus on the Anzac story, but another, Turkish, battle for Gallipoli has been going on for the past decade at least, between the formerly universally accepted Atatürk interpretation and the increasingly strong Islamist view,’ he said.
“Because the Erdoğan government is in power, Islamists are now in the ascendant – as the new Gaba Tepe interpretative centre [at Gallipoli] shows. It depicts Turkey’s 86,000 Gallipoli dead as “martyrs”, dying in a fight against Christian invaders.”
The former inscription:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying 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.