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Turkish Government Destroys Another Monument

An inscription honouring the dead at Anzac Cove has been removed by the Turkish Government.

The 1985 Gallipoli monument was supposed to be restored, but now the words welcoming the dead to rest on Turkish soil have disappeared.

Sources in both Australia and Turkey told the Guardian that the motivations for the "restoration" were partly political, and reflected an increasing emphasis on religion throughout history.

The Anzac Monument, which honored the Australian soldiers who fought in World War One.

Historians in both countries told the Guardian that they expect the finished renovation to leave the memorial markedly different, thanks to efforts from the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Related: Turkey Removed Assyrian Sculpture From Public Square

The monument previously read: "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."

The familiar words, attributed to Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, are also inscribed on monuments in Australia and New Zealand.

They've taken on a special place in Anzac mythology, and diplomatic relations with Turkey.

Historians in Australia and Turkey told the Guardian the "refurbishment" could be part of the Erdoğan administration's moves to cast Gallipoli as part of a clash between jihadi defenders and invading crusaders on the shores of Islam.

Professor of history at the University of New South Wales Canberra Peter Stanley said the erasure of the purported Atatürk words reflected a "new theocratic interpretation" of the conflict in Turkey.

"Because the Erdoğan government is in power, Islamists are now in the ascendant - as the new Gaba Tepe interpretative centre [at Gallipoli] shows.

"It depicts Turkey's 86,000 Gallipoli dead as "martyrs", dying in a fight against Christian invaders."

The destruction of the monument was first noticed by a tour guide, who posted a picture on social media.

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