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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April, 2005, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Gallipoli marks 90th anniversary
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, left, and Anne Kelly, Australia's veterans' affairs minister
Leaders have gathered for the start of two days of ceremonies
Leaders from Turkey, New Zealand, Australia and Britain have attended a ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of the bloody WWI Gallipoli landings.

A minute's silence was observed at the Turkish memorial on the Gallipoli peninsula on Sunday - the beginning of two days of events.

Turkish jets performed an acrobatic display while battleships and frigate sailed past the Dardanelles.

More than 100,000 died in the failed allied bid to win a foothold in Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country's "excellent relations" with Australia and New Zealand "provides a fresh breeze to the souls of all those who fell martyr on this land and entrusts meaning to the lives lost there."

Sunday's services honoured British, French and Turkish troops who died.

Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders will attend services on Monday, the anniversary of the attack.

More than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand troops - known as the Anzacs - were killed in the campaign by the Allies to open a supply line to Russia.

Many historians trace the rise of Australian nationalism to the Gallipoli landings.

"What happened here became deeply etched in the collective memory of nations whose people fought here and even played a part in shaping the peoples and nations we have become," New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said.

Monday marks 90 years from the day the troops stormed ashore at Suvla on the west coast of Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula.


But the Allies - intending to occupy Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman empire - failed to throw back the Turkish defenders and a long and bloody stalemate ensued.

The Prince of Wales is in Turkey to take part in Monday's ceremonies.

Map showing Gallipoli peninsula

Young Australians and New Zealanders are already beginning to fill the hotels, bars and hostels of the Gallipoli peninsula.

Over the years Gallipoli has come to be thought of by some as an Australian and New Zealand operation, says the BBC's Turkey correspondent Jonny Dymond.

But nearly 9,000 French, 21,000 British and Irish and 86,000 Turkish troops died attacking and defending the thin strip of land.

No campaign veterans are still alive, but many relatives still visit Anzac cove, named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who died there.

The anniversary will also be marked in Australia where every state capital is holding a parade and memorial service.

The dawn service from Gallipoli will be televised nationwide.

"Historians still struggle to understand why what was really a very costly stalemate [...] became a national legend almost immediately," Margaret Anderson, director of the History Trust of South Australia told the Australian Associated Press.

"Whatever the reasons, from the beginning, Gallipoli was hailed as Australia's national baptism of fire."

See the leaders of all sides gather to honour the dead

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