New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

Memorial Statues - Joint Issue with Turkey

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Turkey and New Zealand have created a relationship of goodwill since the bitter campaigns of World War I. This joint stamp issue between the two country's depicted statues to the fallen and was released to reflect the friendship that exists between the two countries.

Issue information

On 25 April 1915, British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces launched a major sea and land offensive at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Canakkale province of Turkey. The aim was to open up a new theatre of war as an alternative to the stalemate in France, relieve pressure on Russian forces by the Turks in the Caucasus and provide a direct link with Russia through the Black Sea by gaining control of Istanbul, the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits.

However the Allied commanders who planned the offensive, First Munitions Minister David Lloyd George, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, General Kitchener and Admiral Cardin, dramatically underestimated the resolve of the Turks. Dug into the hills overlooking the beachheads, the defenders put up stiff resistance, inspired by the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (later, founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President).

The Gallipoli campaign lasted 9 months and involved more than a million men. By the time it was officially abandoned on 8 January 1916, both sides had suffered horrendous casualties. New Zealand and Australian troops particularly had taken a real pounding. Over 33,000 allied and 86,000 Turkish troops died in the campaign. New Zealand and Turkey have since created a relationship of goodwill and, as a further step, have initiated a joint stamp issue to strengthen the bond between the two countries. The two stamps, issued in both Turkey and New Zealand, depict a memorial statue for the fallen from each country.

Product Listing for Memorial Statues - Joint Issue with Turkey

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Turkish Statue' gummed stamp.

The Turkish statue With Great Respect to the Mehmetçik, designed by foremost Turkish sculptor Professor Dr Tankut Oktem, depicts a wounded ANZAC soldier being carried to a first aid post by a Turkish soldier or mehmetçik in the height of the battle in 1915. It was erected in the Canakkale graveyard on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1995. The statue has become a symbol of universal peace. It also featured on the 125,000TL Turkish stamp.

For the Turks, Gallipoli (or Canakkale Wars as they are known) has tended to be regarded as a National Independance War. For New Zealanders, the anniversary of the landing is an opportunity to look back with thanks to all those who died serving their country.

Gallipoli itself was a human tragedy for all involved. Yet, it also symbolises commitment to strongly held beliefs and heroism in the face of appalling circumstances. With peace now firmly established and the bonds of friendship continuing to strengthen, there is a clear wish on both sides for this joint issue to be regarded as a symbol of universal peace rather than a memorial to war.

In the words of Atatürk:

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well".

Single Stamp

Single $1.80c 'New Zealand Statue' gummed stamp.

Created by Lyndon Smith in 1964, the Mother with Children statue is a permanent memorial to New Zealanders who have fallen in past conflicts. The statue can be found in the National War Memorial's Hall of Memories, a shrine of remembrance that commemorates the 28,614 New Zealanders killed in the South African War, the First and Second World Wars and the wars in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. The statue also featured on the 125,000TL Turkish stamp.

The statue itself is the focal point of the Hall and sits on a white stone pedestal in the apse at the southern end. It depicts a mother and her two children. The woman is holding the family together during the absence of her partner away on active service. Comforting her young daughter, she is supported by her growing son.

Though not a memorial to Gallipoli specifically, the statue's clear intention is to remind all who see it what these wars were fought for and of the sacrifices of women who carried the burdens of home and family while their husbands and sons served overseas.

Carved into the stone above the entrance to the apse are these words from the 139th Psalm:

"If I climb into heaven, thou are there. If I make my bed in Hell, behold thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall thy hand lead me and they right hand shall hold me".

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $5.20

Technical information

Date of issue: 18 March 1998
Number of stamps: New Zealand - two; Turkey - two
Denominations: New Zealand: 40c Turkish statue With Great Respect to the Mehmetçik, $1.80c New Zealand statue Mother with children; Turkey: 125,000 TL - New Zealand statue Mother with children, 125,000 TL - Turkish statue With Great Respect to the Mehmetçik
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Dianne Prosser, Wellington, New Zealand
Printers and process: New Zealand: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by lithography; Turkey: Gaye Matbaasi Anonin Sirketi, Ankara, Turkey
Stamp size and format: New Zealand: 28mm x 40mm (vertical); Turkey: 26mm x 41 mm (vertical)
Paper type: 104gsm red phosphor coated Litho stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: New Zealand: 50; Turkey: 100
Perforation gauge: New Zealand: 14; Turkey: 13
Cost of unadressed first day cover with two New Zealand and two Turkish stamps: $5.20
Special blocks: Plate/imprint, positional or value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six New Zealand stamps. Colour blocks ('traffic lights') of New Zealand stamps were included in plate blocks. Barcode blocks of New Zealand stamps were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 18 March 1999.