Friday, June 1, 2012

Gallipoli 1

Greetings!  Of course, we're all back home now, but I am going to go ahead and write up the rest of our trip, over the next few days.  Compulsive that way.

In our group, I was the only one who did the optional tour to Gallipoli, in the afternoon after Troy.  Others decided the beach was more exciting.  And even though I don't generally like war memorials, I'm not Australian, and I haven't even seen the Mel Gibson movie of this, I'm still glad I got there.  My interest, this time, is how important this episode of WWI turned out to be for Turkey--this was the extended battle in which Ataturk proved himself, and set the stage for him taking power in Turkey after the War.

Some geography--the Gallipoli peninsula is positioned between the Aegean and the Dardanelles, making it a strategic point to control access to Istanbul, the Black Sea, and ultimately, to Russia. 

Churchill failed in the naval assault on the waterway, and decided on a land battle.  The French landed a decoy assault near Troy, while the Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Anzac Cove--and settled in for 8 months of bloody trench warfare, which drenched the land with blood, and left, they tell me, bones in every square foot of land here.  And in this part of the War, the Turks won.  Here's a view looking up from the beach...

And, ironically, these bucolic, peaceful vistas...

Today, the whole peninsula is a Turkish national park, filled with open landscape, monuments, and cemetaries. Ari Burnu is one such cemetary, filled with markers to the NZ and Australian troops.

And a view the other way...

More in another post (too long for one)...

later, bob

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