A large group of Turkish EAL learners from our classes, together with their families, participated in the Remembrance Sunday ceremony held at Marble Hill Park. One of the learners, Azize, movingly read the translation of the famous letter which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk wrote to the mothers of the Anzac soldiers who fell in the Gallipoli Campaign.

It should be noted that the equivalent day of remembrance for Turkish people is the 18th March which commemorates and mourns all those who died nearby at Çanakkale.

The learners then sang the traditional song of commemoration which every Turkish child learns by heart at a very young age.

The Marble Hill Park ceremony was organised by Rachel Morrison together with local volunteers, school children and a local councillor (Roger Crouch). Rachel is the Audience Development Manager for English Heritage at the park and she will be delivering monthly outdoor workshops to our EAL learners on a regular basis.

EAL Turkish learners at Marble Hill Park

A video of the group’s song can be viewed here.

The below photo shows a monument from the area with a summary of the letter sent to Anzak mothers:

You can find the letters and translations below: 

Atatürk’ün Anzak Annelerine Yazdığı Mektup

Türkçe

“Bu memleketin topraklarında kanlarını döken kahramanlar!
Burada, dost bir vatanın toprağındasınız. Huzur ve sükun içinde uyuyunuz. Sizler, Mehmetçiklerle
yanyana koyun koyunasınız. Uzak diyarlardan evlatlarını harbe gönderen analar! Gözyaşlarınızı
dindiriniz. Evlatlarınız bizim bağrımızdadır. Huzur içindedirler ve rahat uyuyacaklardır. Onlar bu
topraklarda canlarını verdikten sonra, artık bizim evlatlarımız olmuşlardır.”

Atatürk, 1934

İngilizce

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Atatürk, 1934 

Avustralyalı Bir Annenin Mektubu

Türkçe

“Gelibolu topraklarında yitirdiğimiz evlatlarımızın acısını, alicenap sözleriniz hafifletti. Gözyaşlarımız dindi.
Bir ana olarak bana, bir güzelim teselli bahşetti. Yavrularımızın sonsuz uykularında, huzur içinde
dinlendiklerinden hiç kuşkumuz kalmadı. Majesteleri kabul buyururlarsa bizler de kendilerine Ata
demek istiyoruz. Çünkü, yavrularımızın mezarları başında söylediğiniz sözler, ancak bir öz babanın
sözleri gibi yüce, ilahi. Evlatlarımızı bir baba gibi kucaklayan büyük Ata’ya tüm analar adına şükran, sevgi, saygıyla…”

Avustralyalı bir anne

İngilizce

A response by an Anzac’s mother to Atatürk’s words:

“The warmth of your words eased our sorrow for our sons who vanished in Gallipoli, and our tears ended. Your words are a consolation to me as a mother. Now we are sure that our sons rest in peace in their eternal rest. If your Excellency accepts, we would like to call you ‘Ata’, too. Because what you have said at the graves of our sons could only be said by their own fathers. In the name of all mothers, our respects to the Great Ata who embraced our children with the love of a father.”

An Australian mother

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