Memorials held on Turkey's Gallipoli to remember WWI deaths

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GELIBOLU, Turkey — A small group gathered Saturday on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula to remember British and Ottoman soldiers who died during World War I.

The memorial gatherings observed the 106th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. Soldiers from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Newfoundland, South Africa and France fought and died during the international operation that started with landings on the peninsula on April 25, 1915.

So did Ottoman soldiers who fought to protect their homeland, here, the Rev. Patrick Irwin said at the memorial site of Cape Helles.

The Helles Memorial is a Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli Campaign, as well as site to remember the servicemen with no known grave. The British ambassador to Turkey, Sir Dominic Chilcott, gave the welcoming address on Saturday.

Turkey and France held separate remembrance ceremonies for their fallen soldiers. All memorial events were kept small this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Australians and New Zealanders will mark Anzac Day to remember their fallen soldiers. A dawn ceremony will be held in Turkey.

During the Gallipoli Campaign, Allied forces aimed to take control of the peninsula to weaken the Ottoman Empire. The campaign failed, and the Allies withdrew after eight months of ground fighting and some 250,000 casualties on both sides.

The Ottoman victory did not prevent the end of the Ottoman Empire but propelled Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a commander at Gallipoli, to lead Turkey's war for independence.

The Associated Press