Bill Gammage: Aussie historian lashes out at Turkey for putting a road through a cemetery for war dead

Historians in the News

CONTROVERSIAL Turkish roadworks on the Gallipoli peninsula have publicly exposed the Australian Government's lack of care for the Anzac war dead lying there, a leading historian says.
Professor Bill Gammage, of the Australian National University, said Turkey did not have the authority to conduct the roadworks, which had uncovered bones and war relics.

"What I'm essentially arguing is that that area is a cemetery," he told the Sunday Canberra Times.

"You don't put roads through graves anywhere else in the world, in any other cemeteries that I'm aware of, and I don't see why you should do it there."

Concerns about Turkish roadworks first arose in 2005 when bones were unearthed near Anzac Cove. Turkish authorities are currently working on a bitumen road that follows the original No Man's Land, uncovering even more remains.

Earlier this month, the National Trust said the new work would inevitably disturb unmarked graves and expressed concern that bones may be souvenired.

Speaking after a recent inspection of the battlefield, the trust's heritage officer, Dr Peter Dowling, said there was "almost a 100 per cent likelihood" of the new roadworks uncovering human skeletons.

In response, federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs Bruce Billson said he was confident that Turkey would conduct the roadworks "sensitively"....

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