Well... 1998 is
not exactly "Today," but close enough.
This page has evolved into more than just the New York
Times article reproduced below, entitled "Gallipoli
Turk" — Departing Aussie Message
3. Armenian Treachery at Gallipoli
4. The Mineman Who Altered World History
5. A Turkish Female Sniper on Gallipoli?
6. What Some British Colonials Thought of "Johnny Turk"
1915: Can the Dead Hear Talk of Peace?
The New York Times
July 17, 1998
By STEPHEN KINZER
GALLIPOLI, Turkey — Here at the place where half a million men fell during one of the
fiercest battles of World War I, the Turkish Government is planning to open a "peace
park" dedicated to the memory of the dead and the ideal of reconciliation.
During the grim days when this spit of land was being soaked in blood during the 1915
Gallipoli campaign, it must have seemed inconceivable that it would ever come to symbolize
anything besides carnage and the waste of young lives. But the recent announcement that a
Norwegian team had won an international competition to design the new park crowns more
than half a century of growing friendship among the nations whose soldiers died here.
"The Norwegian entry is very subtle," said Raci Bademli, a professor of urban
planning at Middle East Technical University in Ankara who coordinated the design
competition. 'It is not intrusive and does not include any large buildings. Instead it is
based on footpaths that take visitors around the site and create a kind of story for each
"There will also be small niches that
give visitors a chance to think or speculate or reflect on what they are seeing and what
it means for the idea of world peace. Everything is in harmony with the existing
Mr. Bademli said he was pleased that a Norwegian team had won the design competition.
Because Norway was not involved in the Gallipoli battle, he said, Norwegian planners would
come to the project without national preconceptions and would be drawn to the universal
aspects of the human tragedy that was played out here.
The Gallipoli peninsula was declared a national park in 1973, but since then a number of
illegal structures have been built on beaches where Allied troops landed and around nearby
villages. The largest of the villages, Gelibolu, is known in English as Gallipoli and gave
its name to the military campaign.
Plans for the peace park envision removal of these structures and an end to forestry
operations that have sprung up. Most of the work is to be finished by the end of next
Even as it stands today, Gallipoli inspires awe and reverence. There are 31 cemeteries
here, but many of those who died lie in unmarked mass graves. Since most of the fighting
took place in an area only a couple of square miles in size, almost everywhere a visitor
treads is likely to be a soldier's grave.
"Trooper G. R. Seager," reads the simple gravestone of an Australian soldier.
"7 August 1915. Age 17. He Died a Man & Closed His Life's Brief Day Ere It Had
The assault on Gallipoli was planned by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and
other British strategists as a way of opening the disputed Dardanelles straits to Allied
warships. They planned to use the ships to supply Russia through Black Sea ports and
perhaps ease pressure on France and Belgium by attacking Austro-Hungary from the east.
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.
Britain was at the height of its imperial
power, while the Ottoman Empire, then allied with Germany and Austro-Hungary, was in
its death throes and widely viewed as impotent. But the invading force, which
included many soldiers from Australia and New Zealand, found Turkish defenders
astonishingly tenacious and willing to take staggering casualties.
For most of 1915, both sides fought from trenches
that were often less than 10 yards apart. Finally the invaders were forced to
withdraw in defeat, many of them recording in letters and diaries their new-found
respect for Turkish fighting men.
Not least among the results of the campaign was the emergence of a young Turkish
officer who went on to found the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk.
In 1934, while he was President of the republic, he learned that a group from
Britain, Australia and New Zealand was visiting the site, and sent a remarkable
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives,' 'he wrote,
"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."
with the group reported this message, and soon Ataturk's office was flooded with
grateful telegrams, especially from Australia and New Zealand. Today citizens of
those countries visit Gallipoli nearly every day, and cafes seek to attract them
with kangaroo motifs and names like The Aussie and Kiwi.
PBS's "The Great War" got
Gallipoli right, despite misidentifying the name of the Ottoman Empire. (Too
bad the show also got the "Genocide" all wrong.)
The scope of the blood bath here was brought vividly home to a new generation with
the release of Peter Weir's 1981 film "Gallipoli," starring Mel Gibson.
Speaking of the bond that has grown up among onetime adversaries, former Prime
Minister Bill Hayden of Australia said: "Three modern nations emerged from the
Gallipolli campaign: Turkey, New Zealand and Australia. It helps explain the
continuing significance that it has in our national sentiment."
Holdwater says: Is that not an
AMAZING sentiment made to a former foe? Ataturk's reputation for greatness is
Ataturk's sentiment was wonderful. The Aussies
weren't so bad, either. Look at this beautiful message left behind by the departing
Australian troops, for "Johnny Turk":
"The Brigadier presents his compliments to our worthy TURKISH
opponents and offers those who first honour his quarters with their presence such poor
hospitality as is in his power to give, regretting that he is unable personally to welcome
After a sojourn of 7 months in Gallipoli we propose to take some
little relaxation...and in bidding 'Au revoir' to our honorable foes we Australians desire
to express appreciation of the fine soldierly qualities of our Turkish opponents and of
the sportsmanlike manner in which they have participated in a very interesting contest,
honourable, we trust to both sides."
No wonder the Austalians keep travelling to
Turkey... there is a definite bond between the two nations. (One may not know it from the
anti-Turkish television productions in Australia but, hey. Anti-Turkishness is just par
for the course among Western nations.)
Australian lasses vacationing in Turkey, with Sam
Weems, in the author's Christian video, SEVEN
CHURCHES OF REVELATION.
Through the centuries, the honor of the Turkish
soldier has been begrudgingly recognized even by the Turks' worst enemies. Although the
Russians criminally wiped out at least two-thirds of their 45,000 Turkish prisoners-of-war
(in a forgotten "forced march" on their way to being "deported," often
barefoot, through the snow), they had the utmost respect for Osman Pasha at Plevna; the only English-language words Chinese
P.O.W.s learned in Korea were "Turkish
soldiers Number One," and Sir Mark Sykes was even commissioned by Britain's
propaganda bureau (Wellington House) to dispel the notion of the Turks' great image by
writing a booklet entitled, "The Clean Fighting Turk: A Spurious Claim." While it's true
the gendarmes assigned to guard the Armenians during the relocation process were composed
of low-quality irregulars (and some definitely took advantage of the Armenians and
committed crimes), isn't it ironic that it is the Turkish soldier who is recognized as
being the agent behind a state-sponsored genocide? If you were to tell the Australian who
left behind this message that Turkish soldiers savagely and systematically murdered
defenseless Armenians, you would likely get a good, "Crocodile Dundee"-sized
punch in the mouth.
Guestbook Information from a Turk
“”” HE WHO WORSHIPS TWO GODS SHALL BECOME
THE APOSTATE OF THE TWO “”” (Ismet The Historian ) chapter 1, verse 1 of my
The Gallipoli war ( Dardanelles Expedition) came about as a direct result of
Armenian spies passing on strategic information to the British. In return, the
British would give land within Turkey to the ethnic Armenian population, upon
winning the war that is, and usurping Istanbul.
The British Dragoman , Edmund George Fitzmaurice, and British Ambassador, Sir Louis
Mallet, could not have gathered such important information themselves; so they
sought the help of the obliging and smiling Armenians to furnish Kitchener and
Churchill with the information they wanted.
The Armenian population ate and drank at both Turkish and British tables.
But, unbeknownst to them, a great man's career was quietly reaching fruition. This
man was to cut short the dreams of Churchill, and would soon begin to pull Turkey
from the ruins like a great ""Phoenix rising from the
This Great Man of the Twentieth Century needs no introduction.
Ismet The Historian
"Ismet the Historian"
goes on to report:
Churchill and Lloyd George had a private bet as to which month in 1915 they would
take Istanbul. Plans by the Bank of England to allot the gold expected from this
expedition were also underway. A big slice of it would be reserved for the
Armenians were also poisoning Turkish troops' food supplies that were destined for
Gallipoli, with arsenic and other substances supplied by the British. Luckily, the
substances' effect was reduced due to the lengthy time it took to reach the soldiers
Armenian Diaspora and the trans-migrant nature of these people, is not a result of
previously living in Anatolia. “ No.” It is because of their kleptomania and
implacable nature that they do not acquiesce with their neighbour’s.
The Young Turks
gave them every possible chance. But the Armenians chose to flaunt their
aversion to number ten of the Ten Commandments. ("THOU
SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOUR'S.")
They actually thought that the Turks could be got rid of from Turkish soil for them
to take over the land. If this is not forsaking the tenth commandment, then I don’t
know what a renounceable act is, against one's faith.
propensity towards a feeble and surreptitious promise by the British, that Turkish
soil will soon be the property of Armenians, shows how Armenians covet their
neighbour's house and wife. They helped the British mount the greatest naval
onslaught the world has ever witnessed against the Turks during the Gallipoli war.
Churchill planned the Dardanelles Expedition to take Istanbul on the strength of the
information received from Armenian spies living in Turkey.
supplied by Armenians, detailing strategic Turkish positions and garrisons, bedecked
Admiral Carden’s table aboard the British Flagship, the destroyer, Queen
Elizabeth. Equipped with the deadliest new 16 inch Guns that could out-fire the two
battleships the Germans tricked Talaat to accept as a gift.
mighty dreadnought of the British, the Queen Elizabeth
the Allied Dominion Forces, the maps were not required. A commander of the newly
formed Turkish nineteenth Army was to shatter this utopian “Armenian-British”
|THE MINEMAN WHO
ALTERED WORLD HISTORY
Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minister of England
(1909-1916), called the Gallipoli Campaign (February 19, 1915 - March 8, 1916) the
only brilliant strategy developed during World War I. The objective was to use a
combined English-French fleet of obsolete warships (18 battleships, 2
semi-dreadnoughts and 2 battle-cruisers plus cruisers, destroyers and minesweepers)
to drive through the 40 mile long Dardinells (sic) Straits, take Constantinople,
knock Turkey out of the war, free up Russian wheat flowing out of the Black Sea, and
launch a second front through the Balkans to relieve the pressure on Russia and draw
German troops away from the trench warfare in the west.
The Dardinells (sic) Strait was deep enough to accommodate any warship, and an
average of 4 miles wide, except for the Narrows about halfway the Strait which
closed to 1600 yards. The Turkish defenses (aided by Germany) consisted of 100 guns,
only a score of them modern, and 72 of them concentrated in 9 forts on both sides of
the Narrows. In addition, the Narrows was guarded by 9 lines of moored mines
totalling 324 mines, and a number of shore-mounted torpedo tubes.
Many reasons have been offered as to why the naval effort failed, resulting in
adoption of the alternate strategy of an amphibious assault which also failed 8
months later after a half million allied and Turkish casualties. The key to that
failure, however, was Lieutenant-Colonel Geehl, a Turkish mine expert, who saw where
the fleet turned when it retired from bombardment, and planted a line of 20 mines
(they only had 36 spares) parallel to the Strait in that area. Three of these mines
sank the battleships OCEAN, BOUVET and IRRESISTIBLE.
The Turks later revealed that they were almost out of ammunition when the naval
thrust was terminated. One can only speculate about what might have happened had it
not been for Lieut-Col. Geehl and those three mines. Certainly success would have
freed up the flow of Russian wheat to France. The Armenian genocide would not have
happened, at least at that time. Four Turkish divisions would not have been freed up
to attack Russia.
A second front through the Balkans would probably have shortened the war. The
Bolsheviks would not have seized power in Russia on November 1, 1917, and Russia
would not have signed a separate peace treaty with Germany a month later. It would
not have been necessary for the United States to enter the war in April, 1917. Who
know but what World War II, The Cold War, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam
might never have happened but for those three old moored mines.
Source: The Mine Warfare Association
Turkish Female Sniper on Gallipoli?
"Some of the best Turkish marksmen, as
it turned out, were markswomen. 'Among those discovered was a peasant woman — the wife
of a Turkish soldier — who lived with her old mother and her child in a little house
near the Irish lines' (referring to Suvla). This particular woman was a good shot who
specialised in hitting stragglers on the many trails between the front lines and the
beaches. having made sure her targets were dead she would then rifle their bodies. When
she was finally identified and captured her house was searched. A large quantity of money
was found, but more surprising was the discovery of a number of identity discs. Either she
was proud of her work or she was getting paid a piecework rate for the job!"
A WWI forum (1914-1918.invisionzone.com) identified this information as
"...From Myles Dungan's Irish Voices from the Great War... the reference
Dungan gives for the story is Michael McDonagh's The Irish at the Front
The forum participants debate whether the story is a myth. In
another telling, the woman was raped. Yet another version:
“An Australian patrol caught a Turkish woman sniper who had the
identity discs of several British soldiers hanging round her neck. They shot her, and that
shocked me for I thought she was a brave person doing only what many British women would
have done to invaders of our land. But I kept my mouth shut for I knew that in war
everyone is effected by its lunacy”.
The supposed words of a machine-gunner of the 4th Northamptonshire (T) Regiment, who
landed at Suvla Bay August 7th, 1915, and witnessed this the day after, according to the
book Machine Gunner 1914 – 1918 compiled and edited by C.E. Crutchley, Second and
enlarged edition, 1975.
One of the forum writers (Bob Lembke) wrote: "...at almost
every stage of the [Gallipoli] battle the Turks were outnumbered by the British, French,
and ANZACs, as well as out-gunned, out-supplied, out-ammoed, etc."
He also wrote:
"Kannengeisser told a telling story. He was visiting the
trenches of his division, and a few Turkish soldiers, not seeing him, had just drawn their
mid-day meal, probably a few pieces of k'ubils arabie, or pita bread, a handful of olives,
a cucumber, etc. As you know, they like to eat at a low table, sitting on the ground or on
a cushion, in posh surroundings. They looked about, and pried the bodies of a few fellow
Turks out of the parapet of their trench, and formed them into an improvised table, and
happily sat down, put their food down, and began eating. (Of course the bodies had been in
the parapet for two weeks or two months, enough said.) Kannengeisser, peeking around the
corner of the trench, said to himself: 'I knew that these guys are tough. But, this is
ridiculous!' As I said, my father fought with these guys, and loved them, something he did
not extend to most German soldiers."
BRITISH COLONIALS OFF FOR DARDANELLES
"New Zealand cavalry photographed as they were leaving Cairo to take
in the operation against the forts on the Dardanelles." (The Pinedale Roundup,
Some British Colonials Thought of "Johnny Turk"
Many time I have run into
anecdotes of Anzacs and other British colonial troops thinking
the world of their Turkish foes. For example, just weeks ago
there was one heartwarming tale of how a Turkish sniper had
felled an enemy soldier, and couldn't bear to see the man
suffer, and so he carried the soldier to enemy lines, to the
cheers of the invading forces. (Which must have meant the
sniper accepted getting taken as a prisoner of war.) These signs of humanity are the
rule among Turks, which makes how the Western world sees them
in savage fashion — thanks, of course, to such overwhelming and
hateful propaganda — especially ironic.
We'll start things off in this section with excerpts from a book called
"Johnny Turks — Memoirs on Gallipoli,"
written by Julia Gul Arslan, Founder of the Australia-Gallipoli Friendship Society, Inc.
- "Turks have treated our captured men and officers excellently" —
The diary of the Australian. Official Correspondent.
C. E. W. Bean.
- “You will hear extraordinary horrible stories practiced by Turks. Well, don’t believe a word of them. They are grossly exaggerated if not wholly false. You will be surprised at the gentlemanly way the Turks has fought us." —
Jim Haynes (Cobbers — Stories of Gallipoli 1915 p. 178).
- "I reckon the Turk respects us, as we respect the Turk, Abdul's a good, clean fighter —
we've fought him, and we know" — Lieutenant Oliver Hogue.
- "The Turks have always proved themselves perfectly willing to have armistices and have actually asked for one at Helles which was refused by our General Staff." —
- "They (Turks) too were fighting for their country. Good and fair fighters. No. They fought very fair and honestly like us. Both sides lost their very valuable men.” —
[E. W. Bartlett, born in Australia, 1891. 11th Light Horse Regiment. One Hundred years old. He was one of last two hundred who left the
- "The Turkish sniper understood that we were searching for him. He shot once and the doctor got wounded. When he realized that he was a doctor, he didn’t shoot again.” —
Excerpted from Sydney Alexander Moseley, former war correspondent during the Gallipoli Campaign.
- “After the terrible punishment inflicted upon
the brave but futile assaults all bitterness faded …
The Turks displayed an admirable manliness … From
that morning onwards the attitude of the Anzac troops
towards the individual Turks was rather that of
opponents in a friendly game." — [Charles. E Bean, the Australian official historian, The Story of Anzac, Vol. II, Sydney, 1924, p.162 ].
- "The Anzacs left Gallipoli without hatred in their heart for their enemy or bitterness at the incompetence of their own high command.”
— A. K. Macdouggall, Australian historian.