WWI shipwrecks on display off Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula

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ISTANBUL, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The warships that sank during World War I off the Gallipoli Peninsula in northwest Turkey were introduced to the attention of diving enthusiasts as part of an underwater park as of Sunday.

The Gallipoli Historical Underwater Park, located off the Canakkale province in the Dardanelle Strait, which witnessed fierce fighting during the war, was inaugurated with a ceremony, exposing 14 different sunken ships.

Ismail Kasdemir, head of the Turkish Directorate of Gallipoli Historical Site, said at the ceremony held on Saturday that the area witnessed heavy clashes between the navies of the central powers, including Germany and the Ottoman Empire, and the allied forces, such as France and Britain.

Kasdemir noted that with this park, "Canakkale would be one of the most beautiful diving destinations, exposing the stories of each of the sunken ships."

One of the most significant diving spots of the park is the 120-meter-long British Royal Battleship, HMS Majestic, sunk by the German U-21 submarine off Seddulbahir Castle in 1915.

"Unexploded artillery shells and gunpowder on the ship at a depth of 24 meters will attract the diving lovers," a press release said.

It added that another British ship, HMS Triumph, which sank into the waters with its 73 personnel on May 25, 1915, lies at a depth of 70 meters off the Kabatepe shores.

Meanwhile, the wreckage of the French Massena battleship and French Saghalien passenger steamer could be seen at a depth of 5-7 meters in Ertugrul Bay. In November 1915, Saghalien was scuttled with Massena off Seddulbahir to form a mole for the French landing forces.

The vessels remained largely intact on the seafloor, according to officials. Enditem

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