News World Gallipoli a terror target on Anzac Day, government warns

Gallipoli a terror target on Anzac Day, government warns

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Anzac Day services at Gallipoli and on the Western Front have been cancelled for 2020. Photo: Getty
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The Federal Government has received intelligence suggesting the Gallipoli Peninsula may be targeted by terrorists during Anzac Day commemorations.

Veteran affairs minister Dan Tehan told reporters on Thursday he could not detail the nature of the threat, but urged caution for those planning to attend the event on April 25.

“There is information to suggest that terrorists may seek to target Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula,” Mr Tehan said.

“The advice also notes that ‘Turkish authorities are aware of this information and traditionally provide a high level of protective security around Anzac Day commemorations on the peninsula’.

“We continue to advise travellers to reconsider their need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul because of the high threat of a terrorist attack.

“Make no mistake, we will not let the terrorists win.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement that the government, “does not provide this advice lightly”.

“The Australian government has received information to suggest terrorists may seek to target Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula,” she said.

“In the current global environment, major events attract threats of varying degrees of credibility. Regrettably, Anzac Day is not immune.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its travel advice for Turkey to reflect the new information, but the overall warning level for the country did not change.

Around 500 people have registered with DFAT to attend the service, 250 of them Australian. They have been told to consult the Smart Traveller advice for Turkey.

“As with any other location, we advise travellers of risks they are likely to face during their visit and encourage them to take appropriate risk-mitigation measures, if they decide to proceed with their visit,” Mr Tehan said.

“Ultimately, it is up to the traveller to make the final decision on whether to travel or not.

AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said Australian authorities were working closely with Turkish counterparts to ensure those making the pilgrimage were safe.

“We have got people stationed in our embassy in Ankara, and we have been working closely with not only the Turkish National Police but also the Gendarmerie and around the peninsula for Anzac Day commemorations,” he said.

“We have confidence in the Turkish authorities to secure the peninsula and other celebrations in the area.

“They have a good track record of doing so, we are in constant liaison with them.”

New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister Murray McCully issued a similar warning to those across the Tasman.

“New Zealanders throughout Turkey are advised to exercise a high degree of vigilance in public places, keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources, and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities at all times.”

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