Work at ANZAC Cove

For many of us Aussies a pilgrimage to Gelibolu (Gallipoli) is a must do in our lifetime.  The area is steeped in history, an ancient history, a pained history and a history of heroism by the boys and men who left home yearning for adventure, ready to fight for their King and country only to lose their lives and lay buried far from home.

Anzac 3

We visit the memorials at Çanakkale Şehitleri Anıtı (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial), the Nek or Kanlisirt Anıtı (known to us as ANZAC Cove), and these memorials are a reminder that war is full of unsung heroes and, whether they were part of the Allied forces or a Turkish soldier, we remember the sacrifices that they made so we could live today in freedom.  This bond between the Johnnies and the Mehmets was well expressed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkiye, who in 1934 made this uplifting and consoling comment to an official, Australian, New Zealand and British party visiting ANZAC Cove:

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 far away 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.

Those words make hearts swell around the world in pride and are now an integral part of the Gallipoli story.   I remember standing at the memorial at Kanlisirt Anıtı  and I openly wept as I read those immortal words.

Tonight this news item passed my desk –

gelibolu-yarimadasindaki-kitabeler-onariliyor-89763

I felt sick to my stomach.

There were more photos but these appear to have been deleted.

Before we all jump the gun and turn into keyboard warriors (and believe me I was screaming blue murder and ready to call Karl Stefanovic who would fly over and single-handedly sort it out with The Powers That Be) the report attached to this photo states that the Canakkale Savaslari Tarihi group are undertaking maintenance and repair to the memorial due to natural erosion to the inscriptions and repair work and this work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.  Although I understand that the work may have needed to have been undertaken this memorial is held in extremely high regard by Australians and New Zealanders.  I think that perhaps some discretion should have been taken by the officials undertaking this work to minimise the shock to visitors who have come to pay their respects.

I hope that the work is completed quickly and this site which is so important to all of us is returned to its former glory – for all our sakes.

(If anyone has any further information regarding this work please send me a link).

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Gallipoli 2015

On 25 April 2015 Australians and New Zealanders around the world mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings on Gelibolu peninsula.  For Daughter and I it will have a very special meaning – my Grandfather and her Great Grandfather fought at Gelibolu as part of the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 1st Division (although the terrain at Gelibolu was deemed unsuitable for mounted troops after the initial loss of lives his regiment was sent into battle as reinforcements in May 1915).  More so Daughter’s Great, Great Grandfather on her father’s side fought and died at Gallipoli when the first wave of troops landed at ANZAC Cove.

7th Light Horse Regiment, 1st Reinforcement

I did not get the opportunity to meet my Grandfather Leslie Vivian Morgan.  He passed away long before I arrived on the scene.  I do not have any photographs of him and I do not have anything personal to hold but I do have my mother’s memories in my heart.  Memories of a man who fought bravely at Gallipoli for his country.  She spoke of his bravery and his sacrifice and gave thanks to him and to his “brothers in arms” so that we could grow up in a country of peace and prosperity.

Now 100 years on I thought it would be a fitting memorial to my Grandfather and, of course, to my mother to attend at the commemoration on ANZAC Day.  Sadly in January I found out that I was 18 months too late to apply for tickets.  It also seemed that as we do not live in Australia we are ineligible to apply anyway.  “But hold on!  I live in Turkiye!  And my Grandfather fought at Gallipoli!  Surely that has some merit?”  Hayir!

As much as I could kick myself for not investigating how to obtain tickets earlier I am also so proud of how many Australians want to be there to recognise the service and the sacrifice made by so many men all those years ago.

Poppies-Original-Landing-Point-Gallipoli

As I do each year on 25 April I will be up at dawn.  There is no dawn service here in Mersin so I will walk down to the beach, close my moist eyes and, in my mind, I will hear that lone trumpeter play The Last Post.  I will think of my Grandfather and all those boys, those men, both the Mehmets and the Johnnies, who lost their lives fighting for you and me.

Lest We Forget.

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“They’re called boobs Ed”

No I have not flashed my boobs at some unsuspecting Turk here in Mersin instead I am going to get on my Erin Brockovich styled high horse and talk about something serious.  Boring!  Close the page and go back to your cat videos or photos of naked Kim Kardashian or whatever quickly because Janey is off on another tangent!

Starting off small I hate the fact that The Turk says all the fruit and vegetables are “organic” but I watch sprays and poisons being used by my neighbours on a daily basis.  The smell will waft up to our terrace and I know I am breathing in God only knows what type of cancer causing toxins.  Hate it!

blinkyWhat is worse is that I live quite near a chemical factory.  According to their website the factory manufactures “calcium ammonium nitrate and diammonium phosphate as well as fertilizer as nitric acid, sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid production”.  What are these things?  Who the feck knows as I failed 8th grade science but I am pretty damn sure that the yellow smoke that spews out of the factory at 3 in the morning isn’t good for your health and it is probably spilling its overflow into our waterways causing Blinky to mutate.  Perhaps if I serve Blinky up as Marge did then people will start to realise just how dangerous these chemicals are to our environment.

To go a little further on the subject of our water here in Mersin recently we had a water filtration system installed in our kitchen which, although incredibly expensive to install, in the long run will ultimately save us money.  It also means we are not lugging huge bottles of water up stairs twice a week.  While the system was being installed they tested our tap water for contamination and pathogens and I am calling it – it was putrid!  Interestingly they also tested a sample of our well water and I was surprised to learn that the well water is so dirty that it would be dangerous to even bathe in it which leads me back to the three eyed fish comment above.

What else?  Oh, yes, I know I have questioned this before but why are they building a nuclear power plant in a country where earthquakes are regular occurrences?  Did they not learn anything from Japan?  There has been a lot of interest in the legality of the approval to build this environmental disaster in the making and there are many current court cases on the dock regarding the legality of the Environmental Impact Statement.  Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) have replaced the judges overseeing the cases filed against the power plant although as the HSKY is frequently criticised for interfering in high profile cases I cannot see a fair trial any time in the near future after all money talks.  Should I point out that this power plant will be operated by a Russian company.  Hello?  Chernobyl anyone?

While I am finally climbing down off my high horse and adjusting my pants I just want to give you all a final example of stupidity – the proposed development at Gallipoli/Gelibolu.  I am appalled at the possibility of any development on this peninsular.  This should be a World Heritage site protected so future generations have the opportunity to visit, to learn and to pay their respects.  To my Aussie friends and followers spread the word and let your local representative know about this ridiculous approval.  The money that Turkey gains from Australian tourism would have to have some bearing on any potential development surely?  (See story here).

Ugh I have brought you all down haven’t I?  Sorry guys but I just shake my head at the ridiculousness of the situation here sometimes.  Everything is just so fecking difficult and it just shouldn’t be!

On a bright note a friend has just returned from Bodrum with bacon.  BACON!  Imma gonna eat bacon for breakfast on Saturday morning!  If life is bringing you down … well get a friend to bring you bacon and everything will be alright!

BACON!

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Standing on the Peninsular

For many of us Aussies a pilgrimage to Gelibolu or Gallipoli is a must do in our lifetime.  The area is steeped in history, an ancient history, a pained history and a history of heroism by the boys and men who left home yearning for adventure, ready to fight for their King and country only to lose their lives and lay buried far from home.

Looking across Gelibolu Peninsular

Looking across Gelibolu Peninsular

Daughter and I travelled to the Gallipoli peninsular a few years back and had the good fortune of being shown the area by a Turkish author whose books explored the history in a Turkish light.  Slightly different to the stories that I had grown up with but the one thing that stood out to me was the number of young men who died on both sides.  Australia lost over 8000 men at Gallipoli however there were over 18,000 Australian casualties in all.  Turkey, on the other hand, were fighting beside Russia and sent a huge contingent to protect the peninsular from the British Empire.  Over 57,000 Turkish men were killed with over 100,000 casualties.  These are some pretty daunting numbers in anyone’s books.

One of the many trenches

One of the many trenches

Visiting Gelibolu and the surrounding areas of ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine, The Nek (chilling) and all too many cemeteries was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.  There are no words to explain my emotions sitting on the beach and looking up at those ominous cliffs.  The enormity of what these boys were sent to do is astounding and although the campaign failed in its objective of knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war the actions of our brave soldiers gave us the Anzac legacy that we are so proud of today.

Daughter at Simpson's Grave

Daughter at Simpson’s Grave

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now living 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.”
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, 1934

Anzac Day

I can see why the people in Turkey give such high esteem to this man amongst men – I cannot imagine the British Prime Minister or even our own Australian Prime Minister ever being so gracious.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets.

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The Puker

Daughter’s first overseas flight was when she was 10 weeks old.  We flew from Sydney to Bodrum so she could meet The Turk.  Daughter slept for the entire flight.  I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck.  Thankfully there was a lot of assistance from other passengers to get me from Point A to Point B otherwise I would still be wandering around Bangkok International Airport right now in tears (it’s a big airport).

On a whole, however, Daughter is one of those kids who always puked or always had a problem on a flight.  I know right?  I was generally mortified by her behaviour.  I know she couldn’t help it and I understand that, I really do, but it was just so damn embarrassing.  You name it, it has happened to us.  Lost luggage?  Check.  Missing connection flight?  Check.  Crying for 5 straight hours.  Check (and I am sorry).  Stomach aches, ear aches, head aches?  Check, check, check.

I’ve been on flights where they have separated me from my then 5 year old daughter and I even had one instance where Daughter’s name was called over the speaker.  Upon speaking with the attendant they were offering to upgrade her to Business Class!  Hello???

Image

The most infamous flight, the flight that I am sure the other poor souls who were unfortunate enough to be on that flight still comment on, went a little something like this:

  1. Half way through flight.  No problems.  Daughter feeling good.  Daughter feeling happy.  Me feeling relieved.
  2. Seat belt sign comes on.  Captain makes an announcement.  Turbulence.
  3. Daughter has finger up nose (she does enjoy a snack).
  4. Plane jars a little, finger is pushed into the roof of nose (possibly reached brain matter) and yep, you guessed it, a river of blood, a tidal wave of red terror gushed over us both.
  5. Daughter has a complete meltdown, starts choking.

Outcome?  Projectile blood pukage (is “pukage” a word) all over herself, me and . . the Canadian couple in the seats in front of us.  Dear God!

After vomiting for a straight 20 minutes Singapore Airlines refused to let us on our connecting flight (as we looked like extras from a Freddie Kruger movie) and so we spent the next 2 days at Changi International Airport waiting for another flight.  We missed the Anzac Day service at Gelibolu (that’s Gallipoli for you Aussies) and I said at that moment those words that I have said many, many times before, “I am never flying with her again”.

Yes, I have flown with her and yes, she has vomited since that flight.  Many times.

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