Turkish nationals will be barred from attending the Anzac Day dawn service tomorrow at Gallipoli – which is very much a part of Turkey – amid apparent fears over the safety of visitors from Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian reports the Turkish government has enacted measures which will keep locals from getting close to the site of the memorial service, which will mark 104 years since ANZAC forces launched an ill-fated invasion campaign against the Ottoman Empire.
Only registered visitors and Turkish dignitaries will be permitted to attend. Everyone else – including Turkish drivers and tour guides – will be kept away from ceremonies on the peninsula.
In a telling quote, an unnamed official told The Australian that “nothing is left to chance and keeping every Turkish person out eliminates a lot of risk.”
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester also defended the measures on ABC News Breakfast this morning, saying similar security constraints have been enforced in the past.
“I’m sure there’ll be a very solemn, very respectful commemorative event on the peninsula tomorrow which will be well attended by visitors from mainly Australia and New Zealand,” Chester said.
Veterans Affairs Minister @DarrenChesterMP announces a plan to digitise the WWII service records held and managed by the National Archives of Australia.
There are almost 900,000 paper records left on about 13km of shelving at the moment. pic.twitter.com/ORBeQRbBvH
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) April 23, 2019
The security measures come a month after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referenced the Australian terrorist who killed 50 Muslims at two Christchurch mosques, saying those who visit the majority-Muslim nation with anti-Islamic sentiments would be returned in coffins “like their grandfathers were.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison rebuked the remarks, saying they were “highly reckless in this very sensitive environment.” He also threatened a review of Australia’s travel advisory for Turkey, which could have swayed Australians from attending the Gallipoli service.
Relations between Turkey and Australia appeared to soften after Erdogan’s advisor stated his sentiments were “unfortunately taken out of context.”