The massive traffic jam at Anzac Cove may have cleared by now, with 600
tourist buses, VIP vehicles carrying dignitaries and royalty, and
thousands of backpackers leaving the scene via the brand new road built
by our new friends, the Turks. As the Aussie entourage headed home
through the narrow streets, they might have reflected on why the Turks
put up with such a shambolic transport system, when the locals can whip
up at a moment’s notice a wide concrete strip down by an obscure beach
frequented once a year by Australians and New Zealanders.


Anyone who’s been to Turkey will know the state of the road network.
It’s awful: pothole-riddled, narrow and under-maintained, dating from
around the time of the Ottoman Empire. Road funding is not usually a
Turkish government priority. So where did the Turks get the money for
the extravagent road and car park? Which village lost funding for its
local road upgrade, so the Turks could pave history? Or did the money
come from elsewhere, maybe even abroad?

Here are a few questions some enterprising press gallery hack might care
to throw at the responsible minister, Danna Vale, if she ever reappears
publicly:

  • Did the Australian government offer funding for Turkey to assist the Anzac Cove roadworks?
  • How much Australian taxpayers’ money went to build the road?
  • Which program did the money come from? Which Australian road missed out so the Turks could desecrate Anzac Cove?

They are questions the Opposition’s spokesman Anthony Albanese should already have asked. Yesterday,The Australian

reported that our government would offer the Turks money to conserve
Anzac Cove. Nicolas Rothwell and Steve Lewis write: “John Howard will
offer the Turkish Government financial help and Australian manpower to
conserve Anzac Cove where 60,000 visitors will this morning converge
for the 90th anniversary ceremonies… It is understood Mr Howard’s
offer will include technical expertise, personnel and financial
resources, giving Australia a greater involvement in preserving the
site.”

But the real question is: how much has already gone to Turkey, and why haven’t we been told about it?

Peter Fray

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