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.

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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 –

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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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Just a Bit of an Anti-Climax

So for approximately 36 hours I was an outlaw.  I lived on the edge.  I fought the good fight.  I took the red pill and I got a glimpse as to just how far that rabbit hole actually went (sorry nerdy Matrix reference) but, well, now it is all just a little anti-climatic because I am back baby!

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After being locked out of blogger heaven the “powers that be” or the glitch police or the little internet gerbil allowed janeyinmersin.com to return to the web-o-sphere.  From what I can determine certain words send up alarm bells from websites run from within Türkiye and they automatically get blocked under Article 90 of the Constitution.  Obviously all my posts about dragons and wizards fall within that category.

For the foreseeable future, however, I will keep my blogging to stories about kittens and sunshine and unicorns.  That should make the “powers that be” happy.

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Turkey Today

Over the past few days I have had no end of calls from worried friends wanting to know how safe it is in Turkey at the moment.  Yes there is anger and frustration in the streets of many cities.  Thousands of Kurdish people are protesting across the country including in its capital Ankara and Istanbul.  They are furious that Turkey seems to be standing by as Islamic State advances on the Syrian town of Kobane.  They say that Turkey’s failure to help the Kurdish fighters there will no doubt lead to the city falling to IS.

I have learned from writing this blog to keep my opinions to myself as I do not have sufficient knowledge or education on the complicated relationship between Turkey and the Kurdish people.  I will only say that Turkey is in an extremely difficult situation.  They are, of course, a powerhouse in the region and they will vigorously protect their land and their citizens (including their Kurdish citizens).  Should Turkey cross the border into Syria they are entering foreign soil and crossing that border would be considered a hostile act by Syria.  Should a Syrian or Kurdish citizen be injured or killed at the hands of a Turkish soldier then I suspect all hell will break loose.  Turkey also has the underlining concern of keeping peace within its Kurdish communities which can prove a difficult task particularly when Erdogan is comparing the PKK to IS.

The Australian Government has today emailed its citizens living or visiting Turkey and have advised against all travel to the towns of Akcakale and Ceylanpinar.  They have also advised against all but essential travel to areas within 50km of Turkey’s border with Syria.  You should remember that each countries give their citizens their own advice with the UK Foreign Office advising against all but essential travels within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.

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Friends, where we are in Mersin it is perfectly safe right now.  We are approximately 4-5 hours drive from the Syrian border.  There have been no protests however there is a heavy polis presence in the city.  If I feel in any way that the situation has changed or that Daughter and I are no longer safe here we will make arrangements to leave the city and, if necessary, the country immediately.

Remember if you intend on travelling to Turkey in the coming days I suggest that you check with your own Foreign Office.  If you are travelling to Marmaris or along the western coast of Turkey you are 12 hours – I repeat – 12 hours from the Syrian border.  Of course your personal safety and the safety of your family is paramount but do not let the remote possibility of terrorism by Islamic State (or by any other terrorist organisation) control your lives.

If you are interested in reading more about what is going on – here are a few links that I found interesting.

4 Questions  /  The Prize and Peril of Kirkuk  /  Smart Traveller  /  UK Advice  /  Ankara on Alert

Please share this page to your family members who are concerned about safety while travelling or living in this beautiful country.

Finally I will add that Turkey is one of the most amazing countries in the world with its magnificent beaches, glorious scenery and its surprising history.  The Turkish Government will do everything in its power to control the situation along its borders and to protect its citizens and its visitors – that means you!

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State of Alarm

Upfront – this is my personal opinion.  We all have them.

No doubt many of you are already aware that on Thursday the Australian Federal Police thwarted a terrorist plan by ISIS (now Islamic State) members to kidnap a random member of the public, drape them in the Islamic flag and behead him/her on camera.  Holy shit!  This is not Australia!  I cannot believe that this is even a possibility in Australia.

Since Thursday my social media (and for that matter Australian mainstream media) has exploded in anti-Muslim sentiment.  I feel I have to ask “what is happening to Australia as a nation”?

I always believed that Australia is the most tolerant country with the most tolerant citizens on earth.  Sure like all families we argue but then we have a beer and all is forgiven. Today I wonder if I am mistaken of our tolerance (Cronulla Australia Day riots aside).

Please remember not all Muslims are extremists!

Do we judge a religion by the actions of those who use and twist it’s meaning to support their extreme actions? If so where do we stop?

Shall we take the view that all Christians are evil given the findings of a Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse? Or the deceit by Australian’s own Christian Prime Minister as common to all?

I agree wholeheartedly that people living in a country that is not their own (me included) should abide by the laws of that country and should conduct themselves in a manner that is acceptable to their adopted homeland. If you do not abide by the laws of your adopted homeland then your visa or your citizenship should be revoked and you removed from that country immediately.  Simple.

Islamic State is a growing concern to all around the world. In Turkey there is a very real concern that IS has infiltrated the country with 20+ car bombs and suicide bombers.  A very real concern by IS to attack, maim and murder Turkish Muslims. [Today’s Zaman]

Australia is a nation where we are all immigrants (other than our indigenous Aboriginals).  40 years ago it was the Wops, 20 years ago it was the Asians and today it is Muslim people who suffer from intolerance by a small minority of people.  According to the 2011 census, 476,291 people, or 2.2% of the total Australian population, were Muslims.  On Thursday 14 men were detained, not 476,291.

Where there is fear there is radical behaviour, by all of us.

Schapelle

I need to go off topic for a moment.  I know this is a blog about living in Turkey and its trials and successes but the story of Schapelle Corby has been blasted all over every social and media website that I have looked on today so I may as well have my ‘two cents worth’.

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For those of you who do not know I am Australian and, like many Australians, I was fascinated by the story of Schapelle Corby.  In 2004 Schapelle travelled to Bali with friends for a surfing holiday.  On arrival at Denpasar International Airport her luggage was searched by customs officers who found 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in her board bag.  Convicted in 2005 she was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Kerobokan Prison. 

I do not care if she did bring the drugs into Bali (although she has always denied her doing so and has maintained her innocence steadfastly throughout the entire ordeal).  I really do not give a toss.  I will, however, be interested to see just how the media portray her over the coming weeks, months and, no doubt, years.  Her first interview will be worth millions.  Will she be able to trust any person that she meets or will they all be trying to make money off her?  The paparazzi will chase her for months.  First photo.  First outing.  First swim.  First whatever.  I just hope that after the initial juggernaut that is ‘Schapelle’ ends they will leave her to get the treatment that she needs and allow her to heal in peace.

Here I am writing about her as well.  Have I become part of the circus that is probably camped outside her sister’s home right now?  Do I have a right to an opinion about this woman?  Of course I do but do I have the right to send my opinion out into the blog-o-sphere?  Maybe.  I understand that Australian television had a TV-movie rushed to release last night – glad I missed it. 

Rant over – back to normal scheduled programming and a photo of Sultanahmet Camii that I took on my recent trip to Istanbul – go about your day now.

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