French soldiers laid to rest in Çanakkale
Only one of the soldiers was identified, but other archaeological finds, such as rings, grave signs, crosses and gravestones, revealed a former French cemetery near the Seddülbahir (Cape Helles) Castle.
“We have started a very rigorous and careful restoration work at this castle. We have detected some graveyards and bones during these restoration works,” said İsmail Kaşdemir, the head of the Directorate of Gallipoli Historic Site.
Recalling the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, to mothers of foreign soldiers who lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign that “your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace,” Kaşdemir said: “We have acknowledged that memories of many countries lie in this historical area.”
Speaking at the ceremony, French defense attache Col. Philippe Boulogne said: “We remember with respect the memories of the 80,000 Eastern Expedition Task Force and French navy soldiers who were dispatched to these far afields, which witnessed one of the most tragic eras of our history.”
“We also remember with respect the Turkish soldiers who were fallen during the same battles here,” Boulogne added.
Some 10,000 soldiers from France and French colonies, including Algeria and Senegal, lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign.
A French cemetery was established at the Morto Bay as part of the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923.