Address By H.e. Ambassador Koray Ertaş On The Occasion Of 100th Anniversary Of Çanakkale Naval Victory And Martyrs Day
Bucharest Turkish Cemetery, March
Distinguished Members of the Turkish Tatar Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today marks the centenary of the Çanakkale Naval Victory. Galipoli Battles represent the epic struggle of a nation to reborn out of its ashes.
Largest armies of the time were defeated by a victorious effort causing the lives of a quarter million fellow countrymen and women. We honor the memory of our martyrs, their self-sacrifice, and altruism on this day of pride.
No matter who wins or loses, war means catastrophe for all. In the Gallipoli Battle Turks were the winners and the Australians, the New Zealanders and the others as part of the Allied Forces were on the losing side. However, the great human tragedy and suffering were inflicted upon all.
We were able to derive friendship from this tragedy, largely thanks to the visionary leaders of the time, notably Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, our great founding father. Indeed, in 1934 Atatürk wrote this following tribute to the Anzacs killed at Gallipoli:
<Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries: wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.>
We hope other nations in our neighborhood could also show the similar maturity that was demonstrated decades ago by Turkey. Instead of being haunted by the tragedies of history, we hope the adversaries of the past could leave them behind and derive a common understanding for their future generations.
In Turkey, we celebrate March 18 to honor all our martyrs, who lost their lives while on duty. In this Turkish Cemetery, we have about thousand martyrs of different ethnic and religious origin, who fell during World War One. We are grateful for our Romanian friends for hosting our ancestors in their eternal resting place.
We as a generation who are proud of our history, our heroes and heroines will protect the legacy of our martyrs with an unshakable determination and carry our country to a brighter future.
Let me honor once again the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, all our other heroes and martyrs with utmost respect and gratitude. May Allah bestow his vast blessing onto all.