The Çanakkale Centennial Peace Summit, which was held on Thursday in Istanbul, will usher the initiation of ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli, with participants focused on how pain and suffering caused by war could lead to solidarity and understanding between former foes. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, together with several heads of state and government and experts are due to participate in the peace summit ahead of today's ceremonies in Çanakkale and tomorrow's Anzac Day commemorations.
The summit, which took place at the Istanbul Congress Center, commenced with a panel titled "World War I on its Centenary" and academics from Cambridge, Oxford and Princeton Universities gave speeches on the subject. An exhibition showcasing photographs of World War I and Gallipoli was opened, after which a high-level session took place with the attendance of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Iraqi President Fuad Masum. According to the schedule, Erdoğan on Thursday delivered a speech at the summit. Following a concert, Erdoğan hosted a dinner for the participants of the summit. Seventy-three countries sent representatives to the ceremonies marking the battle's centennial.
The peace summit is the first event to mark the commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli, and will be followed by commemorations in Çanakkale, which representatives from 73 countries are expected to attend. Erdoğan will hold a dinner for the guests on the Savanora, the yacht of the Turkish Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on April 24.
In attendance are expected to be 20 heads of state, three parliamentary chiefs, three deputy presidents, five prime ministers, two former presidents, 28 ministers, seven deputy ministers and five general secretaries of international organizations. The commemorations will be covered by more than 400 international media outlets.
Among those in attendance will be Erdogan, Abbott, Key and Britain's Prince Charles, who will all lead the ceremonies.
Prince Charles and Erdoğan will both give speeches on April 24 to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.