ANZAC Centenary Day Address by Australian Atatürk Cultural Centre Inc Vice-President Ömer Can ŞİRİKÇİ
Today I am honoured to address you representing the Australian Turkish Community on be half of Australian Atatürk Cultural Centre, my name is Omer Can Sirikci, Vice President of Australian Ataturk Cultural Centre.
The centenary of ANZAC Day allows us to reflect on the cost of war, and the ongoing need for peace, reconciliation and justice.
This day marks the centenary anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli Canakkale in Turkish. Like hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, who gather at memorials in cities, suburbs and towns across Australia, we have come here to commemorate one of the most significant events in our national calendar.
In recent years some commentators have expressed amazement at the fact that the observance of ANZAC day continues to draw record crowds. This increasing interest and involvement reflects our national character and the way in which it comes to affect all who settle in this country, even those who have lived here for just a short while.
Being the Australian born first generation of Turkish migrants, I am proud and honoured to uphold, live and pass on the the heritage of ANZACs and Mehmetcik the name for Turkish Soldiers. The exemplary mate ship between Turkish people and Australians is one of a kind in fact unheard of for 20th century and beyond.
Before the Gallipoli Battle Turks and Anzacs had never been in contact with each other neither in political or economical issues and for the first time they faced each other for at the Gallipoli battle. During the Battle, restrained form of friendship took place between the two sides with Anzac and Turkish soldiers exchanging token gifts of photographs and cigarettes. They shared food and sometimes communicated each other. Even on the field of the war the spirit of human kind is maintained above everything. A friendly attitude developed between Turks and Anzacs during the gentlemanly war. Since the end of the Gallipoli Battle, Australians, New Zealanders and Turks have given the message that fraternity and peace are the most important and valuable things on the world.
Today Turks, Australians and New Zealanders stand beside each other. They have a strong and friendly relationship. For a peaceful, secure and prosperous world they work together. I am proud to be able to represent this great mate ship between the two nations.
I like to conclude my words by a quote from the founder of modern Turkish Republic, Also the first president and Commander of Turkish Army at Gallipoli Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ” Peace at home, peace in the world.” which goes hand in hand with our saying “Lest we forget” meaning not to forget the past and sacrifices made that have brought us here today.