Doubt surrounds Ataturk's 'our sons'


"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

These famous words, spoken as verbatim each Anzac Day at ceremonies across New Zealand, Australia and Turkey by numerous world leaders and officials are supposedly those of the Ottoman commander at Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who later became the founder of modern Turkey.

The story goes that Ataturk wrote the beautiful words in 1934, specifically for a group of Australian veterans who were visiting the old Gallipoli battlefields.

The problem is however, that there is no credible evidence to suggest Ataturk wrote the words at all.

Historians now believe the words were most likely a combination of Turkish propaganda from the 1950s and 60s, finished off with a flourish by Australian Gallipoli veteran Alan Campbell in his Brisbane home in 1978.

So why do we use them?

I spoke to Kiwi historian James Robbins about the hypocrisy of using the Ataturk forgery as a major part of each Anzac Day service.

Watch the video.