The Atatürk Memorial is situated on a ridge above Tarakena Bay on the south coast of Wellington. The Memorial looks out over Cook Strait and the site was chosen for its remarkable likeness to the landscape of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The Memorial is accessible at all times with a short walk to the Memorial from the carpark.
The Memorial is an outcome of an agreement between the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand governments. In 1984, Australia asked Turkey if the cove on the Gallipoli peninsula could be renamed Anzac Cove in memory of the Australian and New Zealand troops who died there in 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War One. The Turkish Government agreed to change the cove's name from Ari Burnu and also built a large monument to all those who died in the campaign. In return, the Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to build monuments in Canberra and Wellington to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who served as a divisional commander at Gallipoli and went on to become the first president of modern Türkiye.
The Memorial was designed by Ian Bowman and was unveiled on 26 April 1990 by the Turkish Minister of Agriculture. The Memorial comprises a marble crescent, a bust of Atatürk, inscriptions and soil from Anzac Cove. In 1999, a paved forecourt and path, also designed by Bowman, and gravel car parking areas were added with funding from the Turkish Government.
The Memorial features a message of reconciliation that has been widely attributed to Atatürk, although its exact origin is disputed. The text is as follows:
Those heroes who 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 bosoms and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.
Wreathlaying services are held at the Memorial on Anzac Day, and during August by the Wellington Company of the Wellington and Hawke's Bay Battalion Group to commemorate the Battle for Chunuk Bair.
Image of crowds at the Atatürk Memorial on Anzac Day 2017.
The Memorial is maintained by the Ministry while the Kemal Atatürk Reserve (where the Memorial is situated) and the surrounding Rangitatau Reserve are maintained by the Wellington City Council.
In March 2017, the Turkish Memorial was unveiled at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
Updated on 27th April 2023