Ships sunk in Gallipoli campaign opened for tourism
With the lifting of the ban on diving to see 22 historical ships sunk by the Turkish Army’s mines or submarines, British, French, Australian and New Zealand divers, curious about their underwater history, are expected to visit the wrecks.
Along with warships, the underwater area constitutes many wrecks, such as landing craft, submarines, steam launch and sailing boats.
The sunken ships include the British Royal Navy’s 118-meter-long HMS Majestic, which submerged 107 years ago off the Seddülbahir Castle, the British destroyer HMS Louis and Helles Barges, which used to bring food and water to soldiers on the shore, increasing the visual richness.
The area, which contains more ships than those in other countries such as the U.S., Scotland and Malta, was the first underwater park managed by the government in the world.
“We shape the future of Çanakkale’s tourism with underwater history. Our shores are full of inspiring stories. What needs to be done is to bring these stories to more people,” said İsmail Kaşdemir, the head of the directorate.
Considering seeing massive warships where they sank as a great privilege, Kaşdemir said, “We continue to cooperate with international agencies and organizations to promote these natural beauties.”
“It was a successful effort by the Turkish Directorate of Gallipoli Historical Site to introduce Çanakkale’s underwater wealth to the world,” said Mehmet Baş, Türkiye’s most senior diver who has dived into the wrecks. He added that the Anzacs looking for traces of their ancestors would show great interest in these shipwrecks.
The life formed around the underwater park offers great benefits to the ecosystem, according to Baş.
Meanwhile, the mucilage, whose devastating effect on HMS Majestic had been observed during the dives last year, lost its effect, said officials after the dive.
Park provides some 14 diving points
This area of 150 kilometers, including historical wrecks that sank into the waters along the Historical Gallipoli Peninsula, was turned into an underwater park on Oct. 2, 2021. The park, established to contribute to the city of British, French and Australian ships with diving tourism, provides 14 diving points.
Tens of thousands of soldiers died in one of the world’s most fierce battles 107 years ago during the Gallipoli campaign.
The victory against the Allied forces boosted the morale of the Turkish side, which then went on to wage a war of independence between 1919 and 1922, and eventually formed a republic in 1923 from the ashes of the old empire.