The village of Kocadere is located some 3 km off the Eceabat-Kabatepe road (to the north) and as the crow flies only 4 km from Anzac Cove (to the west). Although it may not feature on some present day maps and remains isolated even today, it was an important village at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Pre-1915, Kocadere was the largest village (some 300 inhabitants) on the peninsula but it has never recovered from the forced pre-campaign evacuation and the destruction during the Gallipoli Campaign. Today it is the smallest village (some 50 inhabitants) on the peninsula as many evacuated villagers, who had started a new life in other locations, have not returned after the war.
During the campaign, several medical facilities were established near the village: a field hospital of the 16th Regiment and even more important, the Northern Groups' Hospital for the seriously wounded. Today a cemetery and monument just South of the village and a sculpture by Tankut Oktem in the village square commemorate this episode in history.
Today, the village is a small farming community where coffee house talk is mostly about crops, harvests and live stock. In 2010 the central square and surrounding buildings were renovated but apart from the coffee house there are no shops or restaurants. Its "off-the-beaten track" location is even more emphasised by the fact there is no public transport connecting it to Eceabat or the battlefields.
The Sunday Herald Sun, April 19, 2009
... The war put the tiny, forgotten village of Kocadere, deep within the park on the map; the peace has brought Anzac tourism. It was a Turkish army post during the campaign and now contains the Gallipoli Houses, a small hotel in a village full of stone houses, farm buildings, a mosque and enough roosters to wake the remaining souls at dawn. There is no other development like this within the park, so the Gallipoli Houses worth was immediately recognised when it opened in 2007. The Australian Department of Veteran Affairs has booked it for 10 years during Anzac peak times. The 10 rooms are stylish and minimal : the bathrooms large; and the terrace made for sunset drinks. Owners Eric and Ozlem Goossens, a Belgian and a Turk, worked in the travel industry in Istanbul before building their hotel, and are steeped in Gallipoli knowledge. From the dining and sitting room, lined with framed maps of the battlefield and windows overlooking the heights, the red flag of Turkey can be seen flying over Scrubby Knoll. Mustafa Kemal had a command post here, and nearby is the furthest point where Australian scouts private Arthur Blackburn (later a VC) and lance Corporal Phil Robin pentrated immediately after te landing on April 25, 1915 ...
by Jenny Stevens