WELLINGTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The ties between two wartime foes were strengthened Monday with the unveiling of a memorial to Turkey's World War I dead at New Zealand's national memorial park.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said it was fitting that the Turkish Memorial was the second memorial at Wellington's Pukeahu National War Memorial Park as Gallipoli was where the ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) tradition was born.
"This week also marks the 102nd anniversary of the Dardanelles naval campaign, which prompted the assault on Gallipoli," Barry said in a statement.
An Australian memorial was the first to be installed at Pukeahu in 2015.
The Turkish memorial was one of four planned for the park this year.
"British, Belgian and American memorials will be unveiled gradually through the year - their designs are still under wraps. A French memorial will be installed early next year in time for ANZAC Day 2018," she said.
"Each is a testament to our international relationships, and the shared values, the freedoms and the quality of life our countries have fought for and continue to support today."
The battle for Gallipoli, a small peninsula jutting out from Turkey into the Aegean Sea, with its staggeringly high casualty rate, is commonly cited as one of the defining events in New Zealand's identity.
On April 25, 1915, New Zealand and Australian troops under the ANZAC banner landed in a bid to drive the Ottoman Empire out of World War I.
It had been thought that around a third - 2,779 - of the 8,556 New Zealand troops believed to have served there had died by the time the campaign ended in failure nine months later.
But historians working for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the New Zealand Defence Force last year revealed that the total number of New Zealand soldiers who served at Gallipoli in 1915 was actually more than 16,000 -- although the casualty rate was unchanged.
The Ottoman Empire had about 86,692 troops killed in Gallipoli, according to official New Zealand figures.
April 25, or ANZAC Day, has become a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand and commemorative services are held around both countries and in Turkey.