MFaT issues unhelpful advice for those travelling to Gallipoli

gallipoli_memorial_flag_anzac

It is Gallipoli season again and thousands of Kiwis will be making their pilgrimage to ANZAC Cove.

I was lucky enough to go last year for the centenary celebrations and it was a long and tiring but fantastic trip.

This year with tensions in the region escalating and terror attacks in Turkey, MFaT has issued warnings.

New Zealanders travelling to Gallipoli for Anzac Day commemorations are being warned to be careful following suicide bombings and civil unrest in Turkey.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) updated its travel advice to Turkey yesterday night ahead of the events at Gallipoli on April 25.  

“If you are travelling to Gallipoli for Anzac Day we advise that you minimise your transit time in Ankara and Istanbul and avoid tourist areas in these cities,” MFAT said.

Areas in the south-east of Turkey carry an extreme or high risk level.

“We advise exercising caution elsewhere in Turkey, including on the Gallipoli peninsula, due to the threat from terrorism and potential for civil unrest,” MFAT says.

There is no ballot for the 2016 Anzac Day services at Gallipoli. Australia and New Zealand will conduct the popular dawn service at 5.30am after an overnight vigil. Later that morning, New Zealand will conduct its own memorial service at Chunuk Bair.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop also announced upgraded travel advice for Istanbul and Ankara yesterday, following the deaths of more than 80 people in four separate suicide bombings so far this year.

“Terrorist groups continue to threaten further attacks, including targeting tourists and Westerners,” she said.

She acknowledged that many Australians were planning to travel to Gallipoli for Anzac Day commemorations.

There was no specific threat to Anzac Day services, she said.

Minimise transit time in Ankara and Istanbul? Are they serious? You basically can’t get to Gallipoli without going through Istanbul, and then you spend half your time on buses with thousands of others slowly driving through the streets of Istanbul. There is basically no other way to get down onto the peninsula. And it is a five hour drive. So their advice is next to useless.

For what it is worth the Turks are really helpful if you are known as a Kiwi or Aussie…the problem is it isn’t them blowing places up.

It’s worth the trip, but these warnings are useless.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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