Remarks By Ambassador Ertaş At The Opening Of 100th Anniversary Of The Çanakkale Battles Commemorative Events

Bükreş Büyükelçiliği 16.04.2015



Palace of Parliament, Constantin Brancuşi Exhibition Hall, April 15, 2015

Honorable Members of the Parliament,

Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Members of the Turkish Tatar Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As is known, this year marks the centenary of the Çanakkale / Gallipoli Battles of 1915.

We are commemorating this important event both in Turkey and elsewhere, as Çanakkale Battles represent a major turn of history not only for Turkey but also for many nations and countries in the world.

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.

We will shortly have a presentation on Çanakkale Battles by one of our greatest Romanian Turkish scholar, Mustafa Mehmet. However, I just want to remind that there are two major turning points of the long campaign. One is the naval victory of March 18, 1915. This date is marked in Turkey not only to commemorate the victory but also to honor all our martyrs, who lost their lives while on duty. As some of you might recall, we also commemorated March 18 here in Bucharest at the Turkish Cemetery.

The second turning point of the campaign was the land battles that started in late April 1915 and lasted some 8 months. The land battles are also commemorated every year in April together with our friends from the warring parties, notably Australia and New Zealand.

No matter who wins or loses, war means catastrophe for all and the great human tragedy and suffering were inflicted upon everyone. One important element of this campaign was the deep imprint it left over the destinies of many other nations. Notably, the battles played a significant role on the national identities of Australia and New Zealand. It is therefore not surprising to see thousands of friends from these far away countries covering thousands of kilometers to visit Çanakkale every year in the end of April.

We were able to derive friendship, and not hatred, out of Çanakkale battles, where we lost some quarter million people. The mature and visionary approach of our country, and notably of Atatürk, our great founding father, played an important role in it.

We hope that other contemporary leaders in our region could embrace a similar vision, which prevented new generations from becoming adversaries to one another.

Here, we should remember the famous quote uttered by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk back in 1934 and attributed to the Anzacs who lost their lives 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.”

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.

Thank you.