Not many people know this: Bob Hawke and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Update 17 May 2019: Open letter from Hawke to Australians

Update 17 May 2019: Jack Waterford in Canberra Times

Bob Hawke went to the great Caucus in the sky today and condolences to his family and the Labor Movement and the ALP. We almost enlisted the former PM in research some years ago into the famous words attributed to Turkish statesman, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and commencing ‘Those heroes that shed their blood …’.

We established to our satisfaction (and that of any unbiased observer) that there was no evidence that Atatürk ever said or wrote those words – and lots of evidence that they were invented and embellished after his death for Turkish diplomatic and political reasons. (Summary version.) Along the way, we investigated how Prime Minister Hawke took a personal interest in the official renaming of a piece of Turkey as ‘Anzac Cove’ (‘Anzak Koyu’), in return for which a piece of Lake Burley Griffin became ‘Gallipoli Reach’. (There was to be an Atatürk Channel in Albany, WA, as well.)

On Anzac Day, 1985, those debatable ‘Atatürk words’ were unveiled on monuments at Anzac Cove and Anzac Parade, Canberra. That it happened on time owed a lot to the efforts of the then Prime Minister. There’s lot of detail here, based on our research into government files. We made a number of attempts in 2015-16 to check facts with Bob Hawke, but were gently warned by his loyal staff that he would be unlikely to recall the details. So we left it at that.

In a unique act of honour to fallen foes, the people and Government of Turkey have dedicated this ground [Lone Pine] as a memorial to the eight thousand seven hundred Australians who died on Gallipoli.

In making this Pilgrimage today, we first pay the tribute of honour to the fallen of Turkey, fighting on their own soil, dying in defence of their homeland, inspired by the indomitable leadership of a Man of Destiny, Mustafa Kemal known to history as Kemal Ataturk …

In all the story of heroism and human waste that was Gallipoli, nothing is more honourable than the custodianship of this hallowed ground by the people and Government of Turkey for seventy-five years.

RJL Hawke, Speech at Lone Pine Ceremony, Gallipoli, 25 April 1990

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David Stephens

16 May 2019

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