Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra

Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra

The Kemal Atatürk Memorial has an honoured place on ANZAC Parade, the principal memorial and ceremonial parade on Canberra, the capital of Australia.

Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938) commanded the Turkish 19th Infantry Division when it resisted the invading Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Arı Burnu on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915 during World War I.

He went on to be the founder and first President of Turkey, and was accordingly bestowed the honorific "Atatürk" ("Father of the Turks") by the Turkish parliament.

In 1985, seventy years after the Gallipoli campaign, the Turkish Government recognized the name "Anzac Cove" for the place on the peninsula where the Australian and New Zealand troops landed on 25 April 1915. In return for this gesture, the Australian Government established the memorial garden, around the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, that honours the heroism and self-sacrifice of the Turkish and ANZAC soldiers who took part in that bitterly fought campaign.


The memorial consists of a crescent shaped wall on a circular paved area. The form of the wall reflects the crescent moon and five-pointed star of the Turkish flag. In the centre of the memorial is a time capsule containing soil from the battlefields of Gallipoli. It was designed originally by architecture firm PDCM

Centrally located in the wall is a bronze likeness of Atatürk - a gift of the Turkish government by Turkish sculptor Hüseyin Gezer. The inscription, written by Atatürk, pays tribute to the ANZACs and reflects his understanding of the cost of war:

"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. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

Surrounding the memorial are pine trees "Pinus halepensis" grown from seed collected from the Gallipoli "lone pine".

Refurbishment - 2007

The memorial was refurbished in 2007 and rededicated in time for ANZAC Day (25 April).

The pavement was altered to incorporate a larger five pointed star motif as used in the flag of Turkey, to match the existing wall in the form of the crescent moon. At the points of the star five pink-granite columns matching the granite used for the central sculpture. The columns are lit at night. The flags were moved from the side to the front of the memorial.

This is the only memorial to an enemy commander on Anzac Parade.

The memorial was designed by PDCM Pty Ltd.

External links

[ Australian Light Horse Studies Centre] [ Ataturk Memorial Garden, Canberra.] This site presents a well constructed photo essay on the Ataturk Memorial Garden, Canberra.

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