22 Apr 2019

Anzac commemoration at Gallipoli gets strong Turkish support

7:52 pm on 22 April 2019

More than a thousand New Zealanders and Australians are expected to attend this year's Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in Turkey. As with previous years, security will be very tight.

New Zealand Defence Forces' units perform the haka after the ceremony at New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, 2018.

New Zealand Defence Forces' units at Chunuk Bair in Gallipoli in 2018. Photo: AFP

Those attending will need to go through airport-style screening before being allowed onto the Anzac Cove commemorative site or at the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair and the Australian service at nearby Lone Pine.

The New Zealand government lead for the commemorations at Gallipoli, John McLeod, said they were getting strong support from the Turkish authorities who were responsible for security.

"We work with them to meet their requirements. They have put a lot of resources into this and things are pretty much the same as they were last year."

Mr McLeod said that everyone who came onto the Anzac commemorative site and onto Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair would be scanned by X-ray machines, bags would be searched and all liquids, aerosols and gels would be confiscated.

He said of the 1500 people registered to attend, about 500 were from New Zealand and the rest from Australia.

Mr McLeod said the demographic of those attending was a return to what was seen prior to the centenary commemorations in 2015.

"The majority of visitors are in the 18 to 35 age group and two-thirds female, which is a very interesting statistic and a consistent one.

"It is looking extremely positive."

Thirty-one members of the New Zealand Defence Force will be present for the 104th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in 1915.

This includes band members, a cultural group and a ceremonial party.

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Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard will be the senior New Zealand representative at the Gallipoli services. He is being accompanied by a number of MPs.

Mr McLeod said it was a real honour to be at Gallipoli for Anzac Day.

"This is a really special place and it is a real privilege every time I go out on to the peninsula. We all seem to have such a great connection with our people who are either in the cemeteries or on our memorials to the missing.

"I feel it is really important when we come into this space and to remember and honour those who served and died here."

It was important to acknowledge the Turks who allowed New Zealand and Australia to commemorate the invasion of what is now Turkey, he said.

On 24 April there will be a large Turkish service held at Gallipoli commemorating the country's 57th Regiment, the soldiers who held off the Anzac attack.

There will also be services by France, the United Kingdom and Ireland on the peninsula.

On Anzac Day, the dawn service will be held at Anzac Cove.

It will be followed by the Australian service at Lone Pine and after that, the New Zealand Service will be held at Chunuk Bair.

Prior to the New Zealand service, a large Turkish commemoration will take place at Chunuk Bair, which will include about 15,000 young people marching there - retracing the steps of the Turkish soldiers who defended their homeland against invasion.

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