Gallipoli battlefield faces new developments again. A ceremony area is being planned on the top of the Hill 971 (Kocaçimentepe) It is wrongly considered that Hill 971 was major assembly area for Turkish 57. Regiment before to attack against Anzacs on 25 April 1915 . For this reason they plan to construct a ceremonial ground on top of the Hill 971. This is a big mistake and such unnecessary projects will damage the environment. Another plan ! there is a rumour that a hotel will be built on Suvla A beach ( Kangoroo beach )!
Suvla A Beach A new hotel will be built here
Several weeks ago, Gallipoli National Park authorities began work on two new memorials, located at Ağadere and Soganlidere in the southern sector of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Ağadere, today a silent valley between Maidos (Eceabat) and Kilitbahir with excellent views of the Dardanelles, was the location of an Ottoman military hospital and cemetery during the Gallipoli Campaign. Soğanlıdere was also a area where the medical units of several Ottoman divisions were located, and where many wounded or sick Ottoman soldiers were treated.
Meanwhile, on the peak of Achibaba, the infamous hill that so many Allied soldiers lost their lives trying to capture during Gallipoli Campaign, a peculiar observation terrace has been built. ( By the way, nobody can climb on it!) At the Nek area in the Ariburnu sector, the memorial to Sergeant Mehmet, accepted as one of the oldest Turkish memorials on peninsula related to the campaign, has been surrounded by thick concrete and its character obscured.
Achibaba observation terrace
Such developments, the architecture of which consists of extensive use of concrete and expensive granite stones, are not new to the peninsula. Especially over the last ten years, many memorials and cemeteries have been constructed on Gallipoli Peninsula. Anzac Cove lost its original character because of the extensive road works, while the western face of Plugge’s Plateau (Haintepe) was shaved for the same reason. In front of Quinn Post, a car park was built. Most of the remains of the trenches in this location were lost. In addition, there are some rumours that Suvla ( Anafartalar) plain and Kirectepe ridge constructions are underway. Unfortunately, the work being carried out is not consistent with natural and historical environment.
Anzac cove lost its originality due to the road works. The western face of Plugge’s Plateau (Haintepe) was shaved for the same reason.
According to the National Park authorities, new memorials and cemeteries should be constructed in these areas. Some researchers are opposed to this proposition, saying that such activities cause harmful effects in view of the Gallipoli Peninsula’s historical and natural environment, much of which has remained in a near original state so far. The National Park authorities don’t take into account such criticism, while opposition parties or others such as representatives of the Çanakkale 18 March University do not speak up against these activities sufficiently.
To sum up, while Gallipoli constructions are continuing , the history and the environment are getting lost.
Tuncay Yılmazer Twitter: @gelibolu2015
Photographs: Gökhan Tarkan Karaman Twitter:@gokhanproject