A limit on tourists visiting Gallipoli for Anzac Day memorial services should be considered to prevent further damage to the area, an historian has suggested.

Thousands of Australian tourists flock to Turkey every Anzac Day to mark the anniversary of the landing of troops in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

Professor Joan Beaumont, soon-to-be director of the Faculty of Arts at the Australia National University, today said tension between heritage and tourism at Gallipoli remained unresolved after a 2005 outcry over roadworks at the site that disturbed fallen soldiers’ remains.

“Over the last decade, attendance at the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli has grown steeply from 4500 visitors in 1994 to 18,000 in 2004,” Professor Beaumont said.

“Despite this site falling under Turkish sovereignty, it’s clear that a kind of cultural annexation has taken place, with many Australians and New Zealanders believing that ownership has been conferred by the deaths of their compatriots during World War I.

“Amid the outcry over the roadworks incident, few people questioned whether the development should proceed simply in order to accommodate the growing number of battlefield tourists,” she said.