Presidential Sources Refute Gülenist Daily Claims that Gallipoli Events Canceled

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ISTANBUL (Daily Sabah) — Presidential and Prime Ministry sources have denied allegations that were reported Sunday in Today’s Zaman, a daily affiliated with the Gülen Movement, that the Gallipoli commemorations set to take place on April 24 have been canceled due to low anticipated participation from the countries invited.

Today’s Zaman, a daily known for its articles opposed to the ruling party and for being linked to the Gülen Movement, which allegedly orchestrated the December 17 and December 25 operation in an apparent attempt to topple the government, reported on Sunday that the Gallipoli commemorations were canceled due to low participation, citing an anonymous official from the government. However, sources from both the Presidency and Prime Ministry have refuted the claims that the commemorations have been canceled, refraining from offering further details over how many and which countries will participate in the Gallipoli centennial commemoration.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sent letters to 102 countries inviting the leaders of states to attend the commemoration ceremonies in Turkey marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Battle of Gallipoli this year on April 23 and April 24.

The invitation letters were also sent to U.S. President Barack Obama and Armenian President Serge Sargisian. The Armenian president refused on the grounds that the commemorations were scheduled on the day that Armenians mark the Armenian Genocide centennial.

Sunday’s Zaman on February 21 reported that the ceremonies to mark the centennial of the Gallipoli campaign of World War I had been canceled, citing the low number of heads of states who had agreed to visit Ankara for the ceremonies, which were scheduled to take place on April 24.

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The paper quoted a government official, who wished to remain anonymous, as saying, “The Gallipoli celebrations have been canceled. All preparations have been suspended as the number of RSVPs to the invitation is not positive. Only five countries have accepted the invitation and they will not be represented by high-level officials.”