Remarks By Ambassador O. Koray Ertaş on the Occasion of Martyrs Day

Bükreş Büyükelçiliği 18.03.2017

Remarks By Ambassador O. Koray Ertaş on the Occasion of Martyrs Day

Bucharest Turkish Cemetery, March 18, 2017

YourRoyal Highness, Honorable Generals, Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Members of the Turkish - Tatar Community,

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than a century ago on this day, March 18, the history marked the Galipoli Victory, which changed the tide of history not only for modern Turkey but also for all Europe.

While we solemnly commemorate the victory during World War I, we never forget that war means tragedy for all. During Galipoli campaign, the tragedy hit Turks, Muslims, Australians, or New Zealanders alike. Although we fought against each other, we managed to derive a formidable friendship out of the war thanks to the visionary leaders of the time, notably Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, our great founding father. Indeed, as we proudly read in every March 18 commemoration, Atatürk wrote the following tribute in 1934 to the Anzacs who fell 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.”

The same maturity is also prevalent in our contemporary ties with Romania and Romanian people. History, like everyone’s own life, is not a story of continuous success or failure. It is marked by different colors. Our long shared history with Romania did not make us foes, but friends, allies, and strategic partners. As representatives of our nations, as teachers, parents, or individuals, we should try our best so that our societies are not haunted by the difficulties of the past, but rather try to build a better future by learning from them.

In this Turkish Cemetery, we have 935 souls 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 places.

In Turkey, we commemorate March 18 to honor all our martyrs, who lost their lives while on duty. It is unfortunate that there is a dramatic increase in terrorist attacks against our nation. Regardless of its roots and manifestations, terrorism is one of the biggest threat to humanity. Terror attacks against civilians, women and children will not deter our fight. Last year, we also witnessed a bloody coup attempt which claimed the lives of innocent civilians. I respectfully honor the memory of our martyrs who lost their lives in defending the democracy against this heinous attempt. Our nation will win over those coward groups who target our unity, progress, and modern values. I thank our Romanian friends who show solidarity with the Turkish nation during these testing times. As a member of the Turkish Foreign Service, I should also honor the memory of Turkish diplomats who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of ASALA.

Let me honor once again the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, all our other heroes and heroines with utmost respect and gratitude. May Allah bestow his vast blessing onto all.

Thank you. Now let me address in Turkish to our community members.