Smart Traveller Advisory : Anzac Day 2016 in Gallipoli
This travel bulletin provides information for Australians planning to travel to Turkey for the Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It will be updated as further information becomes available. A separate bulletin will be issued for commemorations in France and Belgium.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) is managing events to commemorate the anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. Details of the official commemoration program are outlined on the DVA website.
A number of private ceremonies will be held in other locations in Turkey, or at other times in Gallipoli. Contact your travel agent for further information about these events. The DVA website also includes a document on other opportunities to commemorate Anzac Day and information about other commemorative events overseas.
This bulletin should be read in conjunction with the travel advice for Turkey.
We continue to receive information that indicates terrorists may be planning attacks in Turkey which could take place at any time. Tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners have been attacked. Further attacks in urban centres and areas frequented by tourists and foreigners are expected.
Due to the high threat of terrorist attack, we recommend you reconsider your need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul. Across Turkey, you should exercise heightened caution and be vigilant to your personal safety and surroundings.
Should information come to light regarding threats on the Gallipoli peninsula or Anzac Day events, this would be included in the travel advice for Turkey.
Australians visiting Turkey for Anzac Day should limit the time they spend in Ankara and Istanbul. Should you choose to visit or transit Ankara or Istanbul, you should avoid large crowds and minimise time spent around potential targets for attack, including tourist sites, shopping malls and entertainment areas.
In the event of an attack, you should leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
As is established Government practice, DFAT advises travellers of any credible or specific threats on the Smartraveller website. We recommend travellers subscribe to the travel advice as the best way to stay informed of any changes to our advice for Turkey or other locations.
Before you go
We strongly encourage all Australians travelling to Gallipoli for Anzac Day to:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details on Smartraveller, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this bulletin as well as the travel advice for Turkey to receive free email updates each time these are reissued.
Australian passport holders require a visa to enter Turkey. It is not possible to obtain a visa on arrival. Australians visiting Turkey for the purpose of tourism or business may be eligible to apply online for an electronic visa, or e-visa. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey for the most up-to-date information.
We recommend you take with you:
- your passport
- a wet-weather jacket and pants
- warm, thermal clothing, including a jacket, beanie, hat or cap and gloves
- a warm blanket, noting you may not be able to lie down
- lighter clothing for during the day
- waterproof walking shoes
- unopened bottles of drinking water (opened bottles will not be permitted)
- sun protection, including sunscreen
- a torch
- any prescription medication you require
- medical supplies to treat minor ailments, such as band-aids and non-prescription pain killers.
These items may not be readily available for purchase at the sites.
A small day pack may be useful to carry these items. Large bags will not be permitted into the site.
Official Anzac Day commemorative services at Gallipoli
Official Anzac Day commemorative services at Gallipoli are held over two days. The Turkish International Service (Mehmetcik Abidesi), French Memorial Service (Morto Bay), and the Commonwealth and Ireland Memorial Service (Cape Helles) and the Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial Service (57th Regiment Memorial) will be held on Sunday 24 April 2016. The Dawn Service (Anzac Commemorative Site at North Beach), and the New Zealand Memorial Service (Chunuk Bair) will be held on Monday 25 April 2016.
Comprehensive information about the commemorative service and advice on travel to Gallipoli can be found at the DVA website.
- All commemorative services are held in a national park.
- You may arrive in the early evening or at night when it can be extremely cold (temperatures may be below 0 degrees Celsius). Rain and very cold winds are possible.
- The weather during the day can be very warm and windy.
- You can expect to be on site, exposed to the elements, for up to 30 hours.
- There is no shelter at any of the commemorative sites or within the Anzac area.
- Food and refreshments are available for purchase from the Turkish food sellers on site. You may bring in your own food. Alcohol is not allowed at the commemorations and will be confiscated. Intoxicated persons will be refused entry.
- Limited basic facilities, including portable toilets, lighting and non-drinking water, are brought in to the commemorative sites for the Anzac Day commemorations on 24 and 25 April.
- Large crowds, limited public utilities, traffic and security arrangements can result in long waiting periods.
- You should be aware that swimming at Anzac Cove and North Beach is prohibited.
Getting there: You are responsible for arranging your own travel to and from the site.
Because of our advice to reconsider your need to travel to Istanbul, you should minimise your time there and should avoid large crowds and minimise time spent around potential targets for attack, including tourist sites, shopping malls and entertainment areas.
The majority of people visiting Gallipoli for Anzac Day ceremonies travel by tour bus. In 2016, private vehicles are not permitted near commemorative sites, and parking is more than 3 kilometres away. Further information can be found on the DVA website.
The following items are PROHIBITED in the commemorative areas and MUST be left secured on your coach/minibus:
- large backpacks (e.g. luggage sized)
- large flags
- camping equipment (including folding chairs)
- open bottles of liquid
- flammable liquids
- weapons or sharp objects (including metal cutlery and umbrellas)
- hiking poles (medical and mobility aids such as walkers, walking sticks and wheelchairs will be permitted subject to medical need)
- large objects, such as musical instruments
- advertising or marketing material
- large cameras with telescopic lenses
- professional photographic equipment; and
- drones and remote control devices
Visitors to Anzac Day services on the Gallipoli Peninsula should have a moderate level of fitness and mobility if they intend on walking between the various memorials and cemeteries. Visitors should take particular care on roads and walking tracks within the national park. Appropriate footwear is recommended. A high level of caution should be exercised around drop offs and road edges as they may be unstable. All visitors are asked to:
- strictly obey safety signage and directions;
- be alert to traffic movements;
- be aware of hazards from uneven surfaces;
- be alert to the danger that soft road edges may give way; and
- not wander off marked roads and tracks within the Park.
Security: Turkish authorities are responsible for security arrangements for the commemorations and you should follow instructions issued by them. You should allow sufficient time to travel to each commemorative site and to pass through each security checkpoint.
Tight security arrangements will be in place for the Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli. All visitors to the commemorative services should expect to undergo airport-like screening on arrival at sites. All bags are searched, and prohibited items may be confiscated and not returned. Visitors are reminded that Turkish law has severe penalties for the possession of illegal drugs.
Intoxicated persons will be refused entry to the commemorative areas
Medical assistance: Medical teams will be on site to provide emergency assistance. Note medical support is only provided for serious medical issues. . Band aids, paracetamol and other treatments for minor ailments should be brought with you. It is a legal requirement for the mobile Turkish Medical Support Services at the Anzac Day commemorative sites to obtain your full name, date of birth and passport details for their records. If you are seeking medical assistance or treatment at the Anzac Day commemorative sites please provide your passport or a form of identification with as much information as possible.
More information: For more information about commemorative services in Gallipoli, including the schedule of services, please see the DVA website.
Visitors requiring assistance
Facilities designed for people with disabilities or restricted mobility are not generally available in Turkey. Before organising your trip, you should contact a travel agent, tour operator or the local tourist authority to find out whether local transport, accommodation and attractions will cater for your needs.
Handling of war relics
The handling of war relics is subject to strict management protocols with penalties applicable for non-adherence, whether those relics have been obtained via official channels or as a consequence of incidental finds.
There are also very significant security and safety implications for carriage of war relics in the form of weapons and munitions on any type of public transport, and to do so generally requires pre-approval with the relevant local authorities.
It is prohibited to carry relics such as shells (including cases and fragments), ammunition, grenades, bayonets and other bladed weapons, and firearms (including historic weapons and collectors' items) on board airlines or rail services.
The removal and unauthorised sale or exportation of cultural and natural property is prohibited and carries long jail sentences.
Where to get help
Turkey’s national 24 hour Police hotline number is 155. Foreigners may also contact the Tourist Police in Istanbul on (90 212) 527 4503 during office hours.
You can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian Embassy, Ankara
The Australian Embassy in Ankara continues to deliver essential consular and passport services. But all visitors to the Embassy will need to make an appointment in advance. To make an appointment, you should call (90 3412) 459 9500.
Australian Consulate, Canakkale
Kolin Hotel Bogazkent Mevkii L-2
Telephone: (+90 286) 218 1721
Facsimile: (+90 286) 218 1724
Australian Consulate-General, Istanbul
16th Floor, Suzer Plaza (Ritz Carlton Hotel)
Askerocagi Caddesi No. 15, Elmadag
Telephone: (+90 212) 393 8542
Facsimile: (+90 212) 243 1332
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above missions, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Other overseas commemorative services
Anzac Day services are conducted in major cities and at war memorials around the world. For information about services conducted by Australian High Commissions, Embassies or Consulates in major cities, refer to the website of the relevant mission. Ensure that you read the travel advice of the country you plan to visit, noting that we advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to some locations where commemorative services will be held.
Further details about Anzac Day services are also available from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.