Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARA
Australians and New Zealanders who come to Gallipoli to mark Anzac Day may soon have to remove wine and beer from their morning menu when commemorating their forefathers who died fighting the Ottomans during World War I, if a new bill in the Turkish Parliament passes.
A parliamentary commission began debating a bill about Gallipoli Peninsula National Park on May 29 under which the area’s status would be changed from a national park to a special historical area. An important clause in the bill states that “consuming alcoholic drinks out of permitted locations” will also be banned.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Sarıbaş opposed the bill, stressing that the grandchildren of Anzac soldiers camp in the open air during their dawn services on April 25 each year, most of them “drinking wine, in accordance with their culture.”
If the bill passes with the proposed clause, it would mean that anyone caught drinking alcohol in anywhere except licensed venues in the park will be fined 5,000 Turkish Liras (1,750 euro).
Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders visit the 33,000-hectare historical park in Gallipoli each year, some searching for the gravestones of their relatives, others to remember the campaign of 1915-16 that saw thousands fall on the peninsula as they fought troops from the Ottoman Empire.