Coronavirus leaves Gallipoli dawn service deserted for a second year
On the eve of Anzac Day, the sacred shores of Gallipoli are once again eerily deserted.
For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of traditional dawn services — and for locals it means another year of economic and cultural misery.
It would usually be swarming with thousands of Australians, but today, the birthplace of the Anzac legend is shut off from the rest of the world.
“Australians are missed here,” Eceabat Mayor Saim Zileli told 9News.
“Their visits were important not just economically, but also culturally.”
Turkey is right now a country in lockdown, recording more than 60,000 new Coronavirus cases every day.
It means that just like in 2020, traditional Anzac ceremonies are cancelled with visitors nowhere to be seen.
Local hotels say they’re feeling the pinch on what is usually their favourite week of the year.
“Australians are one of our most loved visitors,” Canakkale Tourism Association’s Armagan Aydeger said.
“I started tourism from my childhood and we grew up with the Australian tourists. In those terms, we have very good friendships.”
What will happen in Gallipoli at dawn?
On the Peninsula tomorrow there will only be small private ceremonies.
But the area is vowing to be ready for their Australian friends 12 months from now.
“Things will be much better,” Mr Aydeger told 9News.
“They are not like only visitors but very close friends for us and we are all very excited to see them in the next years.”