Dear Crikey,

After reading some comments about the
chest-thumping nationalism displayed by Australians over the Gallipoli
issue, perhaps a little bit of perspective needs to be inserted. I was
one of a team of three that first broke the story, and we (two Aussies
and a Brit) did it in Turkey’s largest newspaper, Hurriyet, some 2 weeks before the Australian media pack finally got off their behinds and decided to react.

The reasons why we chose Hurriyet
were simple. I knew that the Turks were concerned about preserving the
battlefield, and I believed that the only way we could ensure that it
didn’t develop into a Turk versus Australian situation was to have
their side react first. That I am friends with an Australian
passport-holding features editor at Hurriyet, and that the
editor-in-chief of that newspaper is big on the issue, also made the
decision a no-brainer. It literally took a five-minute pitch for Hurriyet to go for the story and send its own team into the field.

can check the dates for you, but we managed to get a one-third page
spread in the Sunday issue, and the bulldozers stopped the next day.
Quite a result, and it was one that restored my faith in the ability of
the media to act as a counterbalance to the uncaring attitudes of
contractors and bureaucrats. The development was flawed from the
beginning, and at the moment we are seeing the spin side of the Turkish
bureaucracy looking for a way out to save various careers.

behaviour of the Australian government on the issue is remarkably
similar. That the development was stopped thanks to a coalition of
people from Turkey, Australia and the United Kingdom who were concerned
about its destructive effects seems to have been forgotten – as has
been the pioneering role of the Turkish press in the matter. Perhaps
Noel Turnbull should do a little research before he goes for a spray in
the future.

Yours, Jason J. Nash
Managing Editor
Oxford Business Group
Istanbul Office