24 Apr 2015

Spirit of ANZAC is Gallipoli's legacy - PM

12:57 pm on 24 April 2015

Prime Minister John Key has spoken of the birth of nationhood and spirit of ANZAC as the legacies of Gallipoli.

John Key (left) and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

John Key (left) and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo: Anadolu Agency / AFP

Mr Key told reporters travelling with him that, although the original Gallipoli battles were brutal, there were acts of kindness and gallantry by soldiers on both sides.

Speaking in Istanbul on his way to Anzac Day commemorations, Mr Key said an enduring bond between Turkey, Australia and New Zealand emerged from the battlefield.

"Gallipoli demonstrates that forgiveness and respect between former adversaries can provide a foundation for the emergence of close warm ties and peace," he said.

"For New Zealand and Australia, it was at Gallipoli also that our young nations began to come of age."

He said it was from there that Australia and New Zealand began to think of themselves as not just parts of the British Empire but as distinct national entities.

Preparations underway for Anzac Day

Mr Key, accompanied by his wife Bronagh, will travel to Gallipoli later today to attend commemoration ceremonies marking 100 years since the landings by Anzac troops.

View 'The War to End All Wars: Radio New Zealand's Anzac 2015 Interactive'

The couple will fly into the city of Canakkale and immediately travel across to the Gallipoli Peninsula, where they will tour battlefield sites.

Mr Key, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, will also meet with some of the 10,000 New Zealanders and Australians arriving at the commemorative site to stay overnight, ready for Saturday's Dawn Service.

On Saturday, Mr Key will attend the Australian service at Lone Pine followed by the New Zealand commemoration at Chunuk Bair.

Radio New Zealand on the track.

Members of Radio New Zealand's team in Gallipoli make their way to the top of Chunuk Bair. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The organisers of the commemorations say they are confident every contingency has been covered for the event, which is expected to attract the largest number of people ever to attend services at Gallipoli.

This year, the average age of those attending is 55 - 25 years older than usual.

Medical stations will be set up along with help for those requiring assistance to reach the various battle sites.

Nearly 4000 military police will be on the peninsula and organisers say it will be the safest place in Turkey for New Zealanders and Australians.

Call for progress in Middle East

The Prime Minister has already used his visit to call for greater efforts towards a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians and a political solution for Syria.

Speaking shortly after his arrival, Mr Key said a state solution was the only enduring position for enduring peace in Israel and Palestine.

"The next few months provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process and to bring the two parties together once more to negotiate a lasting peace," he said

"New Zealand is a friend of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and is a member of the [UN] Security Council [and] stands ready to work with the two parties and interested countries to advance this issue."

Mr Key started his visit by attending the International Peace Summit in Istanbul.

Mr Key started his visit by attending the International Peace Summit in Istanbul. Photo: Jacob Resneck

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