Chapter 4 - Summary of the evidence and current initiatives
begins by reviewing the recent controversy over construction works at
Gallipoli. It then notes future initiatives between Turkish and Australian
authorities to develop and preserve the site.
Summary of the evidence
recognised that on some measures, the Australian and Turkish peoples' cultural
attachment to the site of Gallipoli has increased appreciably over the past
decade. For instance, there has been greater formal recognition of the
Gallipoli site from both the Turkish and Australian Government. In 1997, the
Turkish Government declared the peninsula an international peace park. In 1999,
the Australian and New Zealand Governments proposed an ANZAC Commemorative
site, which was built north of Ari Burnu the following year.
The building of
the Commemorative site was a response to the sharp increase in the number of
visitors to Gallipoli. On 25 April 1988, 200 people attended the Dawn Service at ANZAC Cove; on 25 April 2004, 18 000 attended the ceremony at the
new Commemorative site. The vast
majority of these were Australians and New Zealanders. The number of Turkish
visitors has also increased markedly. In 2003, an estimated 600,000 Turkish
people visited Gallipoli; in 2004, the number had risen to 1.2 million; in
2005, in excess of two million Turks are expected to visit the site.
this level of visitation has put considerable strain on existing facilities,
particularly the access roads to key sites. Under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, it is the responsibility of the Turkish
Government to ensure the upkeep of the roads to the many Allied and Turkish
memorials on the Peninsula. The Turkish Government has recently pledged
$A100 million to upgrade facilities (including roads) on the peninsula.
recognised that Australian and Turkish authorities had common concerns about
the need to ensure the safety of the vastly increased number of people
travelling on the coastal and inland roads. Not only had the volume of traffic
increased considerably, but the existing roads were narrow and subject to
erosion. The Turkish Government has already spent in excess of $A25 million
building a series of car parks and upgrading 6.3 kilometres of coastal road.
Turkish authorities told an Australian official in October 2004 told that the
existing road would be widened from 5.5 metres to 7.0 metres. However, in some
places, the new road clearly exceeds this dimension. Engineers instructed that
the existing road be brought significantly inland to reduce the risk of erosion
and collapse. Both Australian and Turkish authorities feared the existing road
might collapse into the sea.
Chapter 2 also
noted that the Australian Government's formal request to the Turkish Government
was for improvements to the inland road from Chunuk Bair to Lone Pine. It then suggested turnaround facilities for coaches near
the Ari Burnu Cemetery and north of the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission. Mr Beck advised that Turkish officials had ignored
or declined these requests. DVA officials claimed that repairs to this northern
access road did make a marginal improvement in walking time to the 2005 Dawn Service. Moreover, Australian officials have
maintained that the work along the coastal road was needed, and was delivered
by the Turkish authorities in time for the ANZAC Day commemorations.
outlined the controversy surrounding the roadworks. It was generated by claims
from Australian journalists that bones had been found at the site. This aroused
concern from the archaeological community in Turkey and Australia, and the public at large. The intrusiveness
of roadworks, it was claimed, was also affecting the landscape itself. The road
had been widened beyond the extent indicated to Australian authorities. The excavation
work had cut deeply into the cliffs, changing the appearance of the 1915
landscape. The fill from this excavation was dumped onto the beaches at Brighton and ANZAC Cove.
Chapter 3 also
noted the position of Australian authorities on these matters. It highlighted:
the explanation of Turkish authorities that
archaeological work had been carried out prior to the roadworks, and that no
human remains have been uncovered
the assertion of Turkish authorities that if any
remains were unearthed, construction of the road would be stopped immediately
the assertion of the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission that no bones had been disturbed
the belief that the proposed 75 centimetre
widening of the coastal road either side would have no adverse impact on the
the failure of Turkish contractors and
authorities to inform Australian officials that the road would be widened
beyond these parameters
the need, in many parts, to bring the existing
road significantly inland to ensure the new road is not as susceptible to
that the fill dumped onto the beach was dirt,
not rubble, and that it has been removed
that the uncovering of bones and the presence of
silt in the Cove's waters is more likely to have been caused by erosion than
the recent roadworks
the clear statement of DVA and OAWG officials
that their concern was not simply to ensure the safety of roads, but also to
address concerns that the construction had uncovered remains and was damaging
the landscape, and
that Minister Kelly was informed of the environment
and heritage issues concerning the roadworks.
the Committee finds that these claims are not entirely valid and obscure the
Australian Government's inaction and negligence during the construction work on
the coastal road. Australian officials were aware in early March of the extent
and damage that the construction was causing to the landscape, yet the
Australian Government failed to act authoritatively at a political level until
allegations that bones were unearthed and the landscape has been damaged remain
credible evidence. No statements from Australian Government sources contradict
this evidence. Indeed, the Committee has photographic evidence that the fill
dumped onto the beach was substantially more than what was claimed by the DVA
Proposed road construction and environmental planning
The Inter-Departmental Committee on Gallipoli
the major initiatives of the Australian Government on matters relating to the Gallipoli Peninsula has been to establish an Inter-Departmental
Committee (IDC). The IDC is chaired by PM&C, and has representatives from
DVA, DEH and DFAT.
is currently considering matters that arose from the meeting of the Australian
and Turkish Prime Ministers in April 2005. In broad terms, the task is to
balance issues relating to military heritage, environmental protection and road
construction in the Gallipoli area. The IDC will meet on an as-needs basis.
Committee heard that DVA has the lead role within the Committee on two key
issues. They are:
to provide suggestions to the Turkish Government
on the completion of roadworks at ANZAC Cove, including any need for shore
to lead on the broader historical and
archaeological review of the area, which balances visitor safety, military
heritage and environmental considerations.
Completing the coastal road
first IDC issue, the Committee heard from the DVA Secretary that the coast road
will require a further two stages before completion. First, two further layers
of asphalt will seal the road. Second, there is the possibility that a rock
wall will be built along parts of the road to safeguard against further
erosion. This is the issue of shore protection.
Secretary told the Committee there was a 'fairly compelling argument' that the
road will require some form of shore protection. The Australian Prime Minister was
briefed on the possibility of a rock wall, and subsequently wrote to his
counterpart in Turkey to seek discussions on the subject. In response, Mr Erdogan has invited Australian officials to suggest their preferred forms of
shore protection. Mr Sullivan told the Committee that DVA will be taking
these suggestions to the Turkish Government 'on Monday' (20 June
supplementary submission to the Committee in August 2005, Mr Sellars expressed strong concern at recent proposals by the Turkish Culture
and Tourism Ministry to develop a number of scenic viewing areas for visitors
at high points on the battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
These areas would be accompanied by carparks. In particular, Mr Sellars argued that any construction at Chunuk Bair, Hill Q, the Nek or near the Sphinx would be carried out over terrain
that was fought over by the Allies. Historians and experts advising the Gallipoli Historical National Park have recommended against any construction at
these sites. However, there is no obligation for the National Parks Authority
to heed this advice. A response from DVA to Mr Sellars supplementary submission sidestepped addressing the matters he raised
and left the impression that the Australian Government has not yet been
officially informed of these proposals.
The Chunuk Bair
to Lone Pine road
Committee acknowledges the Turkish Prime Minister's plans to commence construction
work on the Second Ridge road from Chunuk Bair to Lone Pine. The Turkish Government clearly regards this project as a
priority, given it is a key access road to the major Turkish memorials. The
Australian Government also recognises that work on this road is urgently
needed. Indeed, the August 2004 letter from the Australian Veterans' Minister
made first reference to the Chunuk Bair to Lone Pine Road. Air Vice Marshal Beck explained to the Committee
that 'within our traffic plan, that [road] was the major difficulty we faced'.
Australian and Turkish Governments also acknowledge that close by the Second
Ridge road, there are areas of extreme military heritage sensitivity. Mr Sellars commented in his submission that 'any roadwork on the scale of that
carried out along the coastal strip...will cause massive damage to the heritage
value of the...region'. He further
claimed that this work would disturb many more human remains than were
unearthed by the roadworks at ANZAC Cove.
and Turkish authorities are clearly aware of these risks. Mr Beck told the Committee he had received advice from Arup Engineering in Istanbul that a safe, two-way road could be made
without impacting on anything other than the existing surface. Mr Sullivan noted that the Turkish Government has invited DVA to offer views on
how best to carry out the roadworks. He added:
My understanding is that if, in looking at widening that road or
looking at making it into two-way traffic, it impinged on the military and
cultural heritage issues of the road the Turkish Government would not agree...
[W]e would have to look at other solutions.
Committee heard opposing views about the need for repairs to the road from Chunuk Bair to the Kemalyeri memorial (see the map in Chapter 1). Mr Beck told the Committee that parked coaches along this road posed 'a major
problem' for people getting to Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair for the services.
However, Mr Sellars noted that work had been done on this road
The need for a comprehensive audit
second IDC issue of an historical and archaeological review of the area,
discussions between the Australian and Turkish Governments are in their
infancy. Mr Sullivan told the Committee he planned to use his
June 2005 visit to Turkey to discuss the issue of an archaeological
study with his Turkish counterparts, and ascertain 'what the two prime
ministers meant when they agreed to this joint second study'.
Mr Sullivan noted that in the past, DVA has employed historians to assist with
heritage issues at ANZAC Cove. He explained that the proposed study would
'concentrate our historians on scoping, from their perspective, areas of great
significance'. Mr Sullivan accepted that a full military audit of the whole battlefield area may
be 'part of what we...end up doing'.
Committee is surprised at the lack of preliminary research prior to 2005
roadworks given the risks involved, the significance of the site, and the
knowledge of DVA, OAWG and DFAT officials that construction was planned. It is
particularly alarming in light of the allegations presented in Chapter 3. The
Committee finds that Australian officials should have been more active in
communicating the need for political intervention to the Australian Government.
Committee is concerned that the military and heritage protection be afforded
not only to the battlefield landscape, but also to the waters of ANZAC Cove.
The Committee heard evidence that the recent road construction has damaged
these waters. A submission from Tim Smith, the Director of Joint Australian-Turkish Project Beneath Gallipoli,
highlighted the importance of a thorough maritime archaeological survey of the
Cove. Mr Smith noted that his team is currently undertaking
the first such survey, designed to identify 'the full range of cultural relics
in the near-shore and under-water component of the battlefield site'.
The Committee recommends a full
military-historical audit of the entire battlefield area at Gallipoli, with
Australian priority for the ANZAC area. This survey must be made public and
must be continually updated.
A comprehensive conservation management plan
In proposing an audit and an on-going survey of the
site, the Committee also acknowledges the need for an appropriate plan of
action flowing from this information. Ten of the fifteen submissions to the
inquiry specifically recommended a conservation management plan as the best
process for addressing physical conservation and visitor pressure at Gallipoli.
A submission from the National Council of Australian
The basis for all conservation
management is detailed knowledge about the site. This provides the information
base for the identification of the site’s heritage values and for the site’s
significance to be assessed. Therefore we welcome the proposed historic and
archaeological surveys of ANZAC Cove, but only if they are to be carried out by
experts, and only if the information gathered is then used to develop an
effective management instrument.
A submission from the Australian National Committee of
the International Council of Monuments and Site (ICOMOS) similarly claimed that
the joint historical surveys 'will not in themselves achieve the essential
formulation of effective conservation management strategies at Gallipoli'. The Council endorsed a joint
conservation management process as a matter of urgency. The submission noted
is a world leader in the field of conservation management planning.
The Committee agrees that a comprehensive audit is only
the first stage in the conservation management plan. It is crucial that this
information is subsequently coordinated among the Turkish, Australian and New
Zealand Governments, and among experts within non-government organisations.
The Committee welcomes the recent initiative of the
Australian Government to establish an IDC that coordinates military heritage
protection and visitation pressures. It also acknowledges and supports the
cooperation of the Turkish and Australian Prime Ministers to undertake an
archaeological survey of the Gallipoli site. However, the approach needs to be
formalised and more systematic.
The Committee recommends that a
working group be established by the government to advise it on the coordination
of the conservation management planning of the Gallipoli site. This group
should include key government departments (including DVA, DEH and OAWG), the
Returned Services League, the Australian War Memorial, and historians and
archaeologists with specialist knowledge of Gallipoli.
The Committee recommends that the
activities of this working group are documented in annual reports. These
reports should be sent to the proposed parliamentary committee (see
Committee insists that the activities of this working group are open to the
scrutiny of the Parliament. It is particularly concerned that military
commemoration in Australia has become politicised. The Committee
therefore believes that oversight of the entire commemorative function ought to
be passed to a joint standing parliamentary committee.
The Committee recommends to the
parliament that it establish a joint standing military commemorations
committee. This Commemorations Committee will exercise bi-partisan oversight
over all commemorative programs, including the management of all sites of
Australian military heritage. It is hoped that the establishment of the
Committee will remove the risk of political exploitation of commemorative
events by the government of the day.
The Commemorations Committee should
receive quarterly reports from the relevant government agencies on all
commemorative activity and planning, including all memorial construction, event
preparation, meetings, agendas, outcomes, public education and budgets.
Commemorations Committee should also receive advice from the working group on
all military heritage conservation issues, and develop a rapport with
comparable groups in Turkey
and New Zealand.
National Heritage Listing
the inquiry’s terms of reference was to examine the heritage protection of
ANZAC Cove. In this context, the major issue is the Australian Government’s
proposed National Heritage Listing of ANZAC Cove.
discussions with Turkey on the issue of National Heritage Listing commenced in 2002. The
Committee was told that officials from DEH and several other Australian
agencies were present at these discussions, and that DFAT had kept Turkish
representatives informed of the progress made. DEH advised the Committee that
discussions were held with Turkish officials on 22 separate occasions.
December 2003, Prime Minister Howard commented: ‘it seems to me...entirely
appropriate that the ANZAC site at Gallipoli should represent the first
nomination for inclusion on the National Heritage List’. The following day, the Prime
Minister expressed confidence that given the understanding between Australian
Government and Turkish authorities, ANZAC Cove would be heritage listed.
18 months later, the Committee was told that discussions are continuing between
Turkey and Australia on the Heritage Listing of ANZAC Cove. Mr David Young, First Assistant Secretary in the Heritage Division of the DEH, noted
that the conversation between the Australian and Turkish Governments is at a
'pretty sensitive stage'.
Mr Young explained to the Committee that the two Prime Ministers are now
seeking an 'appropriate mechanism for symbolic recognition' of the site. He noted that 'symbolic recognition'
may or may not include listing; it is a way 'to engage with Turkey to find a mutually acceptable way forward'. Mr Young claimed the term 'symbolic' is used to assure Turkey that Australia has no intention to apply its domestic
environmental legislation to ANZAC Cove.
the point, Australia has no capacity to do so, given Turkish
sovereignty over this land. Even a domestic Australian listing of ANZAC Cove
would require the consent of the Turkish Government, and may only have symbolic
effect in Turkey. This is a significantly different approach to that originally
advocated by the Prime Minister, and it signifies the failure of the Department
and the Government to persuade the Turkish Government of its expressed
Committee acknowledges that negotiations with the Turkish Government on the
issue of National Heritage Listing are at a sensitive stage. It believes that
the Turkish Government should be credited with the declaration of the Gallipoli Peninsula as an international peace park, in
recognition of its significance as an original World War I battlefield of
immense importance to the nations who fought there.
submission to the Committee, the Australian Council of National Trusts
recommends that the Australian Prime Minister support the Turkish suggestion of
nominating the Gallipoli
Peace Park as a World Heritage site. The Council argues
that this would serve as:
A constructive means to achieving agreement for the development
of an effective conservation management process, because...the Gallipoli
sites...[would] be managed through an agreed conservation management plan.
The Committee recommends that the Australian
Government should maintain a dialogue with the Turkish Government on the
symbolic recognition of Gallipoli, with the express objective of a management
plan for the protection of Australian military heritage at Gallipoli.
The Committee recommends that special
arrangements be established whereby discussions and negotiations with the
Government of Turkey with respect to the international recognition of Gallipoli should be
reported to the new parliamentary standing committee on a quarterly basis.
its accepted status as an international cemetery where over 130,000 people
died, Gallipoli has not been adequately surveyed, researched, or catalogued for
its military heritage value, nor for the sensitivity of its natural
environment, so as to inform current and future management policy.
failure to undertake such research has resulted in significant public concern
in both Turkey and Australia at the destructive nature of the 2005 roadworks.
archaeological survey of the roadworks site was conducted after the event by
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), at the request of the Department
of Veterans' Affairs. The survey was cursory and inadequate, and the advice
provided has been directly contradicted by local people.
reliance on CWGC advice, rather than direct Australian initiation of an
archaeological survey by Australian experts, was a serious error of judgement.
The Australian Government must be held accountable for this oversight.
significant degradation of the beach and coastal waters at ANZAC Cove could
have been avoided had the area been properly researched.
- On 26
April 2005, the Prime Minister of Turkey initiated an assessment of the damage
to military and cultural heritage at ANZAC Cove, and to rectify this damage. These
research projects should have preceded the roadworks, not followed them.
Government of Turkey should be credited with the declaration of the Gallipoli
peninsula as an international peace park, in recognition of its significance as
an original WWI battlefield of immense importance to the nations who fought
Committee find that progress on the Heritage listing of the site on the
Australian Register of the National Estate is at a sensitive stage. Since
discussions on this issue commenced, there has been a shift from heritage
listing under Australian legislation to more symbolic means of recognition.
the current assessments being undertaken, much more research needs to be done
not just of the immediate ANZAC area, but the entire peninsula. A systematic
survey of the entire peninsula would obviously need the agreement and
cooperation of Turkish authorities, and as such, the Australian Government
should make representations on this matter to the Turkish Government.
- Future roadworks must be subject to detailed
scrutiny to ensure that no damage is done to any military heritage.
Senator Michael Forshaw
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