Gallipoli service felt 'unbelievably safe'

Soldiers from Australian and New Zealander units attend a ceremony at Canakkale Martyrs' Memorial...
Soldiers from Australian and New Zealander units attend a ceremony at Canakkale Martyrs' Memorial in Gallipoli Peninsula. Photo: Getty Images
A Dunedin man who attended the dawn service at Gallipoli on Anzac Day says there was no panic and the mood was "very safe" following a terrorist threat to the commemorations.

Turkish media reported an alleged terror plot to attack the commemorations, attended by hundreds of New Zealanders and Australians, and a suspected Islamic State member was arrested in Turkey.

It is believed the man was preparing an attack in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 50 people were killed.

Dunedin man Chris Morland said security was strict, but he thought it was essentially "no different from other years".

There was airport-like security on the Gallipoli peninsula, and a wait of about two hours, but he had been to the services before and these factors were not unusual, he said.

"We had the dawn service this morning, and we walked up to Chunuk Bair," he said.

Mr Morland was waiting in line for the separate New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair when he spoke to the Otago Daily Times, and said there were a lot of school children around, many waving Turkish flags.

The feeling was "unbelievably safe", knowing the person who made the threat had been caught while still "miles away" from the services, Mr Morland said.

The Syrian man who made the threat, named as Abdulkarim Hilef, was detained in Tekirdag, a northwest province near the peninsula.

RNZ reported that Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard told crowds at the dawn service the experiences shared by New Zealanders and Australians at the Gallipoli landing in 1915 had come to symbolise much about the two countries.

"Anzac Cove continues to have a special place in the hearts of all of us, and it informs our rejection of extremism, and of terrorism, whether it occurs in Turkey, in Australia, in New Zealand or in Sri Lanka," he said.

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