This has not been written to deter from the atrocities that were committed during WW1 or of the massacre of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, but rather to look at a subject from an unbiased and unemotional point of view. I know full well the atrocities which are now gaining recognition around the world to have such ethnic cleansing recognized as “genocide”. It has been written because it needs to said and is it not best said by an Australian of Hellenic heritage. I make no apologies for my point of view. A copy of the complete article may be downloaded by clicking on: MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK & THE ANZACS
When Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 – 1918 was being written, this is what the author had written about the Turkish soldier. At first glance the comments by the author are not complimentary despite its sandwiching attempts to create an image in the minds of his readers. The aim of this article is to demonstrate How over the years there appears to be a move to some form of reconciliation with a past that is shrouded in myths that have been perpetuated by generation after generation throughout the mists of time.
“During World War 1, “The Australian and the British found him (The Turk) throughout the war (WW1) a clean and even chivalrous fighter and a docile, tractable, unresentful prisoner (of war when captured). But he has another and sinister side to his demeanour. He is still primitive; he reverts swiftly to the qualities of his wild marauding forebears of a few centuries ago. Appeal to his baser side and he will burn, ravish and mutilate.” The same men (Turks) who almost invariably respected the Red Cross, excelled when turned loose with licence to do their worst upon the unhappy Armenians (Greeks and Assyrians), in every conceivable act of un-chivalry, cowardice, and indescribable violence. But Stronger still is the Turks latent passion for lust and plunder”. Source: Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 – 1918 Vol II – Page 6.
However, one must remember that the author is writing about a war that involved the death of millions and it was the first modern war that was fought using technology that had never been used before. Australia had lost many of its fine young men and it was natural to write about the enemy as they knew of him at the time. Whether this was bias on the part of the author is not known and neither can one be sure whether the author was following the “White Australia” policy theme prevalent at that time.
One wonders when can we forget the past or do we remember the past in order not to repeat the same mistakes. Whatever of the two is correct is a matter of conjecture and this brief article is really to bring together the threads of time that have spanned over the centuries. It is not a judgement call nor is it to point the finger at anyone nation other than to look at the facts in light of new revelation regarding the reported words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on a wall on the Gallipoli Peninsula. I have read the article by Paul Daley and question the motives of the writer.
Yes he may well be correct and that his research is based on more than just anecdotal evidence but I ask the question whether it was wise to raise this topic on the 100 anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. I can agree that we have built up myths surrounding the Gallipoli campaign but not at the expense of the heroism or the bloodstained Australians who gave it their all and died on the battlefield. One only has to read the Official Histories of Australia in the War of 1914 – 1918 and come to your own conclusion. What I am concerned about is the removal or attempted removal of the alleged words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on a wall on the Gallipoli Peninsula. I have read the words and I must agree that even if he had not uttered those words, what is there to say that he did not believe in them
I challenge everyone to show me how many politicians of today write their own speeches. How many in the public arena find the time to sit down and spare the time to write a speech in which they truly believe in and to deliver it with the passion that it deserves. Very few would be found indeed. Just for the sake of the argument let us review those words and make our own minds whether they should remain as a testimony to the fallen of all sides of the battle.
“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 faraway 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”.
It is in my opinion very well written and fine words indeed. A lasting memory to the fallen no matter what their origins were. Therefore one can compromise on the wording and remove Mustafa Kemal Ataturk from the memorial and replace it with “Anonymous”. This will placate and save face for all without anyone’s honour being besmirched.
Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News.
He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0409965538