STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE 101ST ANNIVERSARY OF ÇANAKKALE LAND BATTLES (Atatürk Memorial, Tarakena Bay, Wellington)
The Honourable Maggie Barry,
The Honourable Annette King,
Lieutenant General Don McIver,
Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short,
Major Piero Bertocchi,
Her Worship Celia Wade-Brown,
Local Iwi Representatives,
Fellow members of the Turkish community in New Zealand and our Kiwi friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Kia ora, İyi günler, Good Afternoon.
It is a great honour for me to be here again, as the representative of the Turkish Nation to
pay tribute to our forefathers on this very important day.
It is now almost 6 a.m. in Gallipoli. These minutes saw, 101 years ago, the first shots fired between Turks and New Zealanders. The following days, weeks and months would gradually witness what is widely accepted as “the last gentlemen’s war”. The following years would see that artificial animosity transform into a unique friendship. The following decades would see veterans from Turkey, New Zealand and Australia, commemorating their fallen, shoulder-to-shoulder, year after year.
Much remains to be said about the military strategic outcome of the Gallipoli Campaign. I however, can’t help but look around this wonderful audience and think of how almost each and every one of us here has a grandfather who was there on Gallipoli a century ago, or experienced war elsewhere. Looking around, I also see Turks, New Zealanders and Australians. Friends, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and paying their respects to their grandfathers. The military-strategic outcome may well be discussed for yet another century, but to me, the outcome is clear: Gallipoli has proven that no matter the situation on the ground, friendship trumps enmity. Love trumps hate. This unique friendship is living proof that peace trumps war.
We gather here today also to commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Once a fighting foe on “Chunuk Bair” Atatürk was also the first to recognize the human dimension and catastrophe of war. His immortal message to Anzac mothers serves as the first spark in our children’s minds, so that they don’t consider Anzacs as the enemy. So they know that war, unless a nation’s life is in peril, is murder. So they seek “Peace at Home, and Peace in the World”.
One hundred and one years on, I believe we are more of torch-bearers, carrying the idea of peace, reconciliation and friendship to future generations.
I believe I speak for everyone here when I say that the roots of that friendship goes deep, and are cherished and remembered every 25 April.
I believe we have come a long way over the last century not only to further enhance and deepen our friendship, but also show to the world that we, Turks and Anzacs alike, are not all that different; we all mourn our dead, and more importantly, we are comforted by our friends here at Tarakena Bay, on Gallipoli and around the world.
We are proud to host our New Zealand and Australian friends in Turkey every year, and are delighted by the great support of Kiwis every 25 April here at Atatürk Memorial.
Every 25 April is yet another occasion for us to show our grandfathers and to this great leader that we hold our promise for peace dear, that our path is illuminated by his words of reconciliation, and we are charged with showing the rest of the world that peace is indeed possible.
Bu tören vesilesiyle başta Cumhuriyetimiz kurucusu Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ve silah arkadaşları olmak üzere, vatanımız için canlarını feda eden tüm şehitlerimizi saygı ve minnetle anıyorum. Ruhları şadolsun.
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