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Both sides of Gallipoli 23 mars 2012

Posted by Acturca in History / Histoire, Turkey / Turquie.
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Geelong Advertiser (Australia) 23 March 2012, p. 25

Warwick Hadfield

A Turkish boy was taken to Gallipoli when he was just 10 years old. Now, with a PHD from Deakin University, he is taking Aussies on visits to the sacred battlefield. Warwick Hadfield reports.

When John Basarin’s father, a Turkish army officer, took him to Gallipoli as a 10-year-old, little did he realise it would be the start of a lifetime interest in the battles that occurred there – or the path to a PHD at Deakin University.

Mr Basarin, who migrated to Australia in 1973 and worked for many years as a chemical engineer before turning his academic hand to Gallipoli, will be conferred with his doctorate on March 29.

This will allow him plenty of time to travel to the peninsula again, as he has done for many years, for Anzac Day on April 25.
‘‘When I went to Gallipoli as a boy it was just fields, hills and the blue Aegean Sea,’’ Mr Basarin said.

‘‘We also came across a shepherd and a couple of hundred sheep.

‘‘My father said to me, ‘Son, this is where Turkey was born’, pointing to the hills of Gallipoli. ‘‘Little did I know on the other side of the world, in what was to become my adopted country, Australian people also felt the same way.’’

The Turkish victory at Gallipoli allowed the commander of the troops opposing ANZACS, Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), to prove his military genius and build his credibility, Mr Basarin said.

This, in turn, brought him the leadership and a platform for the national liberation movement that culminated in defeating all the invading enemies and creating what is now the Republic of Turkey, in 1923.

Mr Basarin’s research looks at why so many Australians continue to visit Gallipoli almost 100 years on.

‘‘The Gallipoli Peninsula and Anzac Cove is far away from Australia, it is a desolate place, yet people go there . . . it’s cold, they wait there all night long for the dawn ceremony and then they leave,’’ Mr Basarin said.

‘‘ There is no marketing, yet despite the time, money and effort required to attend, thousands of people go there and they are there to observe the dawn ceremony at Anzac Cove and the Australian ceremony at Lone Pine. Its popularity is such that more than 50,000 Australians are expected to attend the Anzac Day ceremonies on the centenary in 2015.’’

Mr Basarin’s PHD thesis, titled Battlefield Tourism: Anzac Day Commemorations at Gallipoli, examines the factors that make the visit to the battlefield site so satisfying for Australians and how this translates into their strong recommendation of the journey to others.

With his supervisor, Professor John Hall, Mr Basarin has published a dozen papers in academic journals based on the results of his doctorate thesis.

One of the important findings was the significance of word-of-mouth recommendation.

‘‘Almost everyone who was surveyed had known someone who had visited Gallipoli and had told them what an experience it was, an experience of a lifetime, to remember and share, an experience that helped put Australia’s past in perspective and helped provide an understanding of what the young soldiers had faced in 1915 and how this had shaped what Australia has become in the 21st century, almost 100 years later,’’ Mr Basarin said.

Mr Basarin said although no official marketing was done for the ceremony, most people had been influenced by participating in activities at school or by seeing the Anzac Day ceremonies and parades on TV.

‘‘They didn’t know what to expect, but they knew the dawn ceremony was an important event and they knew Gallipoli was the birthplace of Australia,’’ he said.

‘‘They also didn’t know that Turkey sacrificed 10 times as many men as Australia, or that Australia lost the battle. The personal and the emotional experiences were so intense it threw them off. That’s what made it so satisfying.’’

Mr Basarin’s findings and the framework he has developed to ensure satisfaction is maintained with the ceremonies will come in handy when he starts work on his next job – taking 1000 Australians to Gallipoli in 2015.

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