Each and every year at the break of dawn on the 25th of April in Vienna, and in many other corners of the world where our flags fly together, we gather in solemn remembrance of our boys who have never aged.

Their memories are now with us, fresh as the first day, fresh as the April dawn.

The naval and land battles of Gallipoli exacted a heavy toll on both sides. In 1915 and 16, no university or high school in Istanbul could generate graduates. We buried our finest there.

The soil of Anatolia is no stranger to fallen heroes. But it embraced most tenderly those we left behind in Gallipoli.

However, in spite of its devastating effects, Gallipoli also engendered compassion, empathy and friendship between the warring sides.

For, in Gallipoli, where the trenches were within shouting distance, the enemy was no longer a faceless cog of a war machine.

They were men. Men with hopes, with longings, some with children, with beloveds, men with forsaken futures. They knew the fate they shared and they fought with dignity a gentleman’s battle.

That is why the Mehmets and Johnnies came to respect each other.

Now they lie, side by side, finding solace in each other’s company.

The face of Gallipoli, once scarred with trenches and pockmarked by shell holes, is again lush with vegetation, tranquil and peaceful in the soothing sea breeze.

But in the silent soil, you can still hear a distant pulse. The earth in your hand feels heavier with the legacy of their sacrifice, with the weight of truncated lives.

Today, a stanza carved on the face of a cliff overlooking the straits calls the unknowing traveler to halt and hear.

It goes:
Traveler, stop. This soil, you come to tread unawares
Is where an Age was sunk.
Lean in and lend an ear, this silent heap
Is where the heart of a nation beats.

The saga of courage, honor and sacrifice written in blood by those young men still reverberates, reminding us, lest we forget, the value of peace.

In Gallipoli, they have shown us a path from war to lasting friendship. Their memory we shall ever cherish, and, their legacy will continue to guide our nations.

Allow me at this juncture, to quote the timeless words of Atatürk, who had best expressed the true feelings of the Turkish people:
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
These words we quote each year should be seen as fresh flowers laid to our sons’ graves every April.
I salute with deepest respect and gratitude their eternal memory.


Montag - Freitag

09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30

09:00 - 12:30 14:00-18:30
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