Statement by HE Damla Yeşim Say, Ambassador of Turkey to New Zealand At the Opening Ceremony of the Poster Exhibition Titled “From Hostility to Lasting Friendship: Cultural Reflections from the Turkish and Anzac Soldier Narratives” 11 February 2016, National Library, Wellington

DAMLA YEŞİM SAY 11.02.2016
Honourable Craig Foss, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs,
Dr. McGibbon, Dr. Kemaloğlu,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Distinguished Guests,

I want to thank you all for joining us today to launch this poster exhibition titled “From Hostility to Lasting Friendship: Cultural Reflections from the Turkish and Anzac Soldier Narratives”. I feel privileged to host today’s opening reception together with Minister Foss, a valued friend of ours.

I first of all would like to acknowledge the curator, Dr Banu Azer Kemaloğlu, as well as our New Zealand friends and colleagues, in particular Ambassador Curr, the WW100 Board and MFAT for taking the initiative and bringing Dr Kemaloğlu’s work to New Zealand.

As you will see shortly, the collection focuses on human side of the Battles rather than the grand military strategy of the parties. It offers a shared perspective in individual stories from both sides. The Narratives of the Mehmets and the Johnnies printed on the posters will remind you that the impact of war on human soul is very much the same for everyone.

In fact this interesting exhibition is a befitting complement to the one other travelling exhibition of ours; “Çanakkale-Road to Peace out of War”. They certainly go hand-in-hand as they both offer a glimpse of the often overlooked human experience of the horrors of war. Complementarity and the emotional connection between the two exhibitions which were organised independently by Turkey and New Zealand are indeed testimony to the unique feeling of friendship and partnership that we have developed since the war.

Today, a century later, we are standing side by side once again, this time on the occasion of this exhibition, for a purpose: To honour our fallen, to cherish their memories, and to show through the voices of Mehmets and Johnnies that they are not forgotten and they have cemented the foundation of the unique friendship between Turkey and New Zealand.

Dear Guests,

Let me conclude my remarks by conveying our thanks again to Dr Kemaloğlu and all other Kiwi friends and colleagues who worked hard to bring this exhibition to us and invite you to enjoy this brilliant poster exhibition and some refreshments.

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