Anzac Day 2019: 'Heinous' terrorists disrupting way of life, Brendan Nelson says

The evacuation of the Gallipoli site just hours before the dawn service due to terror attack fears is a reflection that "heinous" people want to disrupt people's way of life, the director of the Australian War Memorial says.

Speaking in Canberra after Anzac Day commemorations, Brendan Nelson said fundamentalists were intent on destroying the values Australian service men and women fought for.

War memorial director Brendan Nelson, with Corporal Mark Donaldson, VC.
Photo: Karleen Minney.

War memorial director Brendan Nelson, with Corporal Mark Donaldson, VC. Photo: Karleen Minney.

The Anzac Cove site was evacuated after Turkish authorities arrested a suspected Islamic State member, who they believe was planning to attack Anzac Day commemorations, attended by hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders.

Dr Nelson said, "Our generation is facing a different kind of fundamentalism, those who have hijacked the good name of Islam.

"Those who have fundamentalists causes are intent on doing everything they possibly can to disrupt and destroy the values by which we live.

"What's most important for us and the best way to honour those men and women on Anzac Day is the way we live our lives and we shape our nation."

A 26-year-old Syrian national was arrested near the Gallipoli peninsula and Turkish authorities said they believed he had been planning an attack.

Turkish news agencies have said the man was allegedly preparing to attack commemorations in retaliation to the Christchurch attack.

Snipers were seen on the roof of the war memorial during the dawn service. Photo: Karleen Minney

Snipers were seen on the roof of the war memorial during the dawn service. Photo: Karleen Minney

Heightened security fears at Gallipoli led to Turkish nationals, including tour guides and bus drivers, being barred from attending the dawn service.

Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester defended the ban on Wednesday, before the evacuation and arrest.

Mr Chester said Turkey was closely monitoring the safety of those attending the service.

There was a large security presence at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for Thursday's dawn service. Multiple snipers were seen on the roof of the building during the service.

Dr Nelson said the memorial was briefed by intelligence organisations in the lead up to Anzac Day.

"Turkish authorities are dealing with the matter [in Gallipoli] and they went to extraordinary lengths to see that the Gallipoli peninsula was secure for the services there," he said.

"We fully implemented the advice we were given by ASIO, the AFP and intelligence and security agencies."