Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fed: Govt issues formal warnings for Gallipoli ceremonies

Fed: Govt issues formal warnings for Gallipoli ceremonies

By Rob Taylor, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

CANBERRA, April 10 AAP - Australian backpackers will be barred from carrying theirpacks to Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli under tough new security rules to prevent terroristattacks.

The federal government today issued a formal warning to Australians planning an AnzacDay pilgrimage to Gallipoli to beware of possible terror strikes.

In recent years the ceremonies at Anzac Cove in Turkey have attracted up to 15,000people, many of them young Australian and New Zealand travellers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said travellers this year should take carein public areas like bus stations, hotels, bars, restaurants and shopping areas.

"In view of ongoing military action against Iraq, Australians planning to attend theceremonies should remain aware of a continued heightened risk of terrorist activity againstwestern interests in Turkey," DFAT said.

"Recent attacks against western targets in Istanbul underline our existing advice thatthis risk applies throughout the country, including the north-west, where the ANZAC ceremoniesare held."

Fears of reprisals for Australia's involvement in the war have prompted the federalgovernment to ask Turkey to boost security at Gallipoli for Anzac Day ceremonies laterthis month.

Treasurer Peter Costello is planning to represent the government at the Gallipoli dawnservice and Australian security officials have already visited the area to assist Turkishauthorities with preparations.

But reports a special team of Australian Federal Police officers would attend servicesto boost the Turkish police present were wrong, DFAT said.

The department warned there had been past terror attacks in Turkey during April.

"The Turkish government has stated it will be working to implement enhanced securityarrangements both at the Gallipoli peninsula and other areas, including Cannakale, inthe lead-up and during the commemoration services," the department's travel advisory said.

"Australians attending the commemorative ceremonies will need to comply with all Turkishsecurity directives."

DFAT said because of enhanced security, Australians would need to allow more time topass through various security checkpoints, while some commemorative sites would not beopen to the public during the services.

It said people would be barred from carrying large backpacks, camping equipment, alcoholand weapons of any kind, including pocket knives.

Random searches were also being considered.

Opposition Leader Simon Crean, meanwhile, urged Australians opposed to the war in Iraqnot to make Anzac Day a day of protest.

"This has got to be a recognition of those who, through many theatres of war over many,many decades, have served this country with great honour," he told ABC Radio.

"It's a day for them and it's a day for reflection about trying to avoid circumstancesin the future in which we have to commit them to war."

AAP rft/sb/sp/bwl


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