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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Speech – 90th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey Turkish Embassy, Canberra

Ambassador and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests and most importantly the members of the Australian Turkish community of which I know there are a number here tonight.

Ambassador, it’s a great honour for me to be present tonight on the 90th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.

It’s a very proud day for you, sir, and a very proud day for the members of the Turkish Australian community gathered here and I am very proud to be given the great honour to speak tonight.

I would like to thank the Ambassador for his generous words in the Canberra times today. If I may please quote from them, “Turkey and Australia are great friends and our friendship is based on shared values and its deep historical roots, dating back to 1915.” I thank you for that Ambassador and I must say that the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatϋrk to the mothers of our fallen, have as much meaning today as they did so many decades ago.

2015 will be an extremely important focus of our already strong relationship. There will be bilateral exchanges and together we will be designating 2015 as the ‘Year of Australia in Turkey’ and the ‘Year of Turkey in Australia’, which can only strengthen those bonds.

The Turkish community in Australia is very strong, some 67,000 of which 33,000 were born in Turkey. I would particularly like to thank the Turkish Government and the regional Government of Çanakkale for their invaluable assistance and support provided to us to enable us to commemorate ANZAC day at Gallipoli.  There is nothing more important for us, than those Gallipoli commemorations and the Turkish Government and the Government of Çanakkale are very generous hosts, so we will never, ever forget that.

That two past foes can become such close friends is a tribute to both our nations and a bond of friendship has now been forged.  A bond that can never been broken.

Can I thank you all most sincerely; those members of the Australian Turkish community in particular for according me this great honour.

Ambassador, I know you and I have already formed a very strong relationship and I am sure that will develop more and more as we head towards 2015.

Thank-you most sincerely.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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