Every year, hordes of tourists from Turkey, Australia and New Zealand travel to Gallipoli, or Çanakkale, as the peninsula is called in Turkish. They go there to commemorate the soldiers who died during one of the largest battles of the First World War. One side refers to their fallen as ‘heroes’, the other calls them ‘martyrs’. This shows how different the narratives are. To Turkish visitors, it’s a pilgrimage; to Australians, a holiday.
Video artist Köken Ergun, whose work is often about the role of ritual in communities, spent two years among the many tourists. He interviews people at the monuments and cemeteries, rides the coaches where guides tell their stories and shows the melodramatic, patriotic plays the Turkish government organises. Gradually it becomes apparent how these narratives are used to fan the flames of nationalism.