Remarks By Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş At The March 18 Martyr’s Day Ceremony
Distinguished Members of the Turkish-Tatar Community,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining us today in this commemorative event marking the 103rd anniversary of the Gallipoli Victory.
Gallipoli campaign constituted one of the most dramatic pages of the Great War, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives that deprived combatant nations of their young generations. It was here that, fighting for their survival, Turks proved there was no limit to the sacrifice they would endure in the struggle for dignity and freedom.
It was also in the battlefields of Gallipoli that a spirit of peace and friendship was born between warring countries that continues to guide our relations to this day.
Nothing captures this spirit better than the words of our founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, addressed to the Anzac mothers who lost their sons in this battle:
“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 here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent your sons from far away 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.”
Turkish-Romanian relations today reflect the same wisdom and visionary approach that we are so proud to inherit. The place we gathered today, is the resting place of the fallen Turkish soldiers who lost their lives in yet another stage of the Great War. This and the preceding history however, did not prevent us from becoming friends, allies and strategic partners. As we honor the 935 souls resting here, we once again express our gratitude to the Romanian friends for their generosity and compassion.
The need for peace, understanding and respect is greater than ever at a time when we witness violent conflicts, terrorism, rising xenophobia and intolerance all around. Success in this struggle requires joint efforts, solidarity and determination. Turkey, will continue its efforts in this direction to keep any terrorist threat away from its borders. On this occasion, I would like to pay tribute to our soldiers who lost their lives in the Operation Olive Branch. As a member of the Turkish Foreign Service, I should also pay homage to the Turkish diplomats who lost their lives at the hands of ASALA terrorists. While remembering with deepest gratitude and respect our founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, I honor the memory of all heroes and martyrs who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and homeland.