Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's presence and participation in the Gallipoli Anzac Day dawn service compelled a grudging Erdogan to ramp up desultory security, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.
AUSTRALIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER Julie Bishop is attending Gallipoli's Anzac Day dawn service in a counter-terrorism operation.
The service takes place today (Australia time) amidst concerns of a terrorist attack.
Bishop's last-minute departure for Turkey came as a surprise to her as well and is made against the backdrop of Turkey's President Recep Erdogan's declared contempt for Turkey's first President, Mustafa Atatürk, the man known as the "father" of Turkey.
It is a term coveted by the jealous Erdogan, and a crown he is clearly determined to place upon his own head through fear and military force rather than earned through personal respect from his people.
BISHOP'S PRESENCE COMPELS GRUDGING ERDOGAN TO RAMP UP SECURITY
Bishop's presence and participation in the dawn service will not only compel a grudging Erdogan to ramp up desultory security at the Anzac Cove ceremony, but has also facilitated a greater security contingent from Australia on the ground, including plain clothes operatives.
We understand that the Australian Federal Police and other intelligence agencies put forward a case that if a high profile politician attended the Gallipoli dawn service, it would force Erdogan to deploy a serious security force rather than the farcical pretence that was initially promised but which had started to fall away, only to be ramped up days ago at Australia's insistence.
Despite spin to the contrary, IA has been told that Erdogan was diffident about security for the enigmatic dawn service and had issued instructions to the hapless organisers to stop deifying Atatürk, whom he considers a secular traitor who betrayed the legacy of the Ottoman Empire by capitulating to Westernisation.
ERDOGAN ANGRY WITH AUSTRALIA'S RESPECT FOR METHULLAH GULEN
Eleventh hour discussions took place between Australian and Turkish organisers last night.
IA has been told that there are fears that pro-Erdogan sympathisers might disrupt the dawn service and other commemorations with violence, and that these acts would be blamed on the Gülen Movement, as was the recent failed coup.
Moreover, Erdogan is furious at the recognition and respect paid to Fethullah Gülen by Australia, including several inaugural hairs named for him at Australian universities.
Erdogan constantly refers to Gulen and his followers as "terrorists".
IA has already discussed Erdogan's hatred of both Atatürk and Gulen in the first of a three-part series, that also extensively backgrounds various scenarios.
Cold Turkey: Erdogan's withdrawal from democracy, by Tess Lawrence. https://t.co/v0uvI97eIv— IndependentAustralia (@independentaus) April 23, 2017
ERDOGAN AT ODDS WITH AFFECTION BETWEEN JOHNNIES AND MEHMETS
Erdogan's visceral hatred of the internationally lauded Atatürk, founder of the secular republic of Turkey that Erdogan is intent on completely dismantling, remains at odds with the long standing affection and camaraderie between Australia and long-standing officials and organisers of the annual dawn service, that in recent decades has become almost a rite of passage for Australians young and old alike.
This affection extends to other parts of Turkey, including the cities and villages closest to Gallipoli, to say nothing of the substantial growth in tourism and trade.
But Erdogan cares little for all of this.
For him, Atatürk and his secular vision, remains an ever present danger that he sees manifested in the Gulen Movement and indeed the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi), known as CHP.
It is Turkey's oldest political party and main opposition. A direct descendant of Kemal Mutafa Atatürk's party, it is now contesting the results of the recent referendum granting Erdogan dictatorial sovereignty. Its secular demeanour and social democracy contrasts with Erdogan's increasingly autocratic fundamentalism.
ERDOGAN FEELS AUSTRALIA HAS COLONISED GELIBOLU/GALLIPOLI
Erdogan's aim is to trash Atatürk's legacy both in Turkey and internationally. Atatürk,the founder of "modern" Turkey, is a name well known to Australia, partly because of The Great War slaughter and hagiography that has mythologised a tragedy that for us is simply known as 'Gallipoli' and embraces the deification of the ANZAC legend.
The word on the backstreet is that Erdogan feels Australia has "colonised" Gelibolu and made it almost part of Australia, appropriating the site's history for what was a victory for the Turks and, for the Western allies, a catastrophic defeat and blunder resulting in wholesale carnage.
Although no specific threats have been cited, there have been official warnings of terrorist attacks — both in Gelibolu and Australia.
Early reports state that, sadly, attendence numbers are down for this morning's dawn services across the nation.
Gallipoli Dawn Service has started. Beautiful way to wake. pic.twitter.com/nDT9HS5Jbf— Jack Houghton (@Houghtontweets) April 25, 2017
Last month, the Australian Government issued a warning to Anzac Cove pilgrims:
Latest advice, 6 April 2017
There is information which suggests terrorists may seek to target Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Turkish authorities are aware of this information and traditionally provide a high level of protective security around Anzac Day commemorations on the peninsula.
.... There have been a number of deadly terrorist attacks in Turkey in recent months, including an attack on a central Istanbul nightclub on 1 January that killed 39 people and injured more than 60 people, and an explosion outside a major football stadium in Istanbul on 10 December 2016 that killed 44 and injured over 100 people.
Due to the high threat of terrorist attack, we recommend you reconsider your need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul. If you enter Turkey through Istanbul or Ankara airport, you should minimise your time in these cities. Exercise heightened caution across Turkey. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Following an attempted coup in July 2016, Turkey declared a State of Emergency. The State of Emergency has led to an increase in authorities' powers and limitations on detained suspects' rights. All public gatherings are currently banned in Ankara and some other regions of Turkey.
The advice remains unchanged.
This year's expectations are a far cry from the heady Gallipoli Anzac Cove Centenary commemorations in 2015, attended by thousands. So far, the registrations to attend are merely in the hundreds.
ERDOGAN TRASHES ATATÜRK'S AUTHORSHIP OF "JOHNNIES AND MEHMETS" WORDS
So intense is Erdogan's palpable disdain for Atatürk whom he holds responsible for deflecting Turks from the glory of the Ottoman Empire and Islamism because of his secularism and his "Westernising" of Turkey that a special team within Erdogan's propaganda unit was/is assigned, with measureable success, to promulgate in the West and especially Australia, the revisionist notion that Atatürk was not the author of the famous, healing and prosaic words to "far away" mothers to honour their mutual dead children buried in Turkish soil and writ both on a memorial in ANZAC Cove and also the Australian War Memorial.
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.
At the time of the catastropic Gallipoli (Gelibolu in Turkish) landing in 1915, Atatürk was a divisional commander of the 19th Division part of the Turkish Fifth Army main reserve and saw firsthand the horror and waste of war.
Atatürk is seen here at Gallipoli flanked by his men from the 19th Division (Image via awm.gov.au)
It is believed he penned these words in 1934, when he was President of the Republic of Turkey and sent them as a message to a group of ANZAC officials visiting what became officially known as Anzak Koyu — Anzac Cove. That same year, Kemal Mustafa was awarded the title of "Atatürk" meaning "Father of the Turks".
It is spurious arrant Erdogan and Western arrogance combined, to pretend that Atatürk did not write these words and/or that he was incapable of doing so.
“I look to the world with an open heart full of pure feelings and friendship” is one of his other famous quotes. He was certainly a leader more inclined to peace than war.
Unlike his modern counterpart, Atatürk was by any measure truly charismatic man with a formidable intellect that easily translated into verbal and poetic eloquence.
I couldn't help noticing that the website of the Turkish Consulate-General in London, features a photo of Atatürk and his words 'Peace at home. Peace in the World':
There's no such photo on the equivalent site in Australia.
Why is that, I wonder?
In a special reading former ABC radio presenter Lawrie Bruce recites the words from the famous, disputed, memorial words:
Download this podcast HERE.
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