ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, Turkey

Last Updated on April 28, 2024

Anzac, A Small Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula

ANZAC Cove, 6 km (3.75 miles) northwest of Kabatepe's Çanakkale Epic Presentation Center (map), was where Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops landed in the early morning darkness of April 25, 1915, during the First World War. Intending to land on the broad beach and easy rise of land at Kabatepe Feribot İskelesi 5 km (3 miles) to the south, instead, the landing boats drifted north in the darkness, and the troops debarked onto a short (600 meters/2000 feet), narrow beach hemmed in by steep cliffs and hills. The difficulty and danger of this unsuitable beachhead and the fierce Turkish fire force of the Turkish defences plagued the ANZAC forces throughout the campaign.

Today, ANZAC Cove (Anzak Koyu in Turkish) is quiet, with the occasional fishing boat passing along offshore. A small grassy field at the foot of Plugge's Plateau has been designated as the ANZAC Cove Commemorative Site, with a parking lot for the buses that bring visitors here on ANZAC Day.

Anzac cove monument

A monument at the cove bears the words of Kemal Atatürk, who, as a young Lieutenant-Colonel of Infantry, was instrumental in the success of the Ottoman defense of Gallipoli:

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying on 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 at peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."

Atatürk, 1934

History of the Gallipoli Campaign and Anzac Cove

The Dardanelles Strait in Turkey has always been a strategically important location. It connects the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, serving as a canal that connects many Eastern European countries to the rest of the world. Due to its location, controlling the trade passing through and defense in this area has been crucial, and fortifying both shores with castles, Turkish artillery, and machine guns has been a way to achieve this.

The significance of the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli Peninsula during World War I was once again demonstrated. After much indecision, Turkey ultimately decided to enter the war on Germany's side. This came after allowing two of Germany's warships to enter the Black Sea and bombard the Russian coasts. This caused the Allies, including New Zealand, British, Irish, French, Indian, Newfoundland, and Australian troops, to provide support to their Russian counterparts through the Dardanelles Strait. After a long campaign for the royal navy, in which a number of British ships were destroyed, the British realized they needed a ground offensive to win the Gallipoli Campaign.

As a result, they dispatched a primary force of Australian and New Zealand soldiers as well as a troop of Australian engineers for the purpose of landing at Anzac Cove, where they had months-long warfare with original Turkish troops on the defense line and Turkish reinforcements. Although the Allied troops won the crucial first night, they were unable to advance further into the mainland and hills except for the Lone Pine (also known as Third or Gun Ridge), where Turkish defenders managed to push troops to recapture the hill after a Turkish counter-attack.

Visiting Anzac Cove and Sites of the Gallipoli Campaign

Today, Anzac Cove and other warfare sites on the Gallipoli Peninsula are monumental sites not only to remember and honor the Turkish forces but also the troops of the Allied forces. Many Australians come here to honor their fallen soldiers and take a pilgrimage to the shore.

Tracks marked by signs lead from the Anzac Commemorative Site and several shore points up the steep gullies and ravines to the ANZAC front lines at Lone Pine, Quinn's Post, North Beach of Sulva Cove, Helles Memorial (Cape Helles), and Chunuk Bair (Conkbayırı). The road from Kabatepe Feribot İskelesi to ANZAC Cove is two-way and continues north to Suvla Bay.

Moreover, located on the southern tip of Anzac Cove, you can find the Gallipoli (Çanakkale) Epic Promotion Center, which houses a historical war museum showcasing the Battles of Gallipoli. The museum presents the events chronologically and thematically, preserving and displaying artifacts for visitors to see.

—Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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