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STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE 90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY, 29.10.2013

STATEMENT
BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE
PROCLAMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
(29 October 2013, The Boatshed 17.30)


Kia Ora, Good evening, İyi akşamlar,

His Excellency John Allen, Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Honourable Members of the Parliament,
Her Excellency, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Community,
Her Worship, the Mayor of Wellington,
His Excellency, Chief of the Defence Force,
Members of the Turkish Community,
Friends of Turkey,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


Today, we are celebrating with a great joy and pride the ninetieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. I warmly welcome you all to our celebration.

Ben ve Büyükelçiliğimizin tüm mensupları Cumhuriyetimizin ilanının 90. Yıldönümünü kutladığımız bu coşkulu günde sizlerle bir arada olmaktan büyük mutluluk duyuyoruz. Hoşgeldiniz, Cumhuriyet Bayramımız kutlu olsun.

Let me thank sincerely to His Excellency John Allen, Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who is representing the New Zealand Government, for being with us today.

As this is a special celebration, I will be brief in order to leave you ample time to enjoy the evening.

Distinguished Guests,

The Great War was the greatest of all as it drastically changed the political, social, economic, cultural and technological landscape of the whole world.

Our Great War on the other hand, lasted much longer than of the other fighting parties. It has started with the Balkan War, and ended with our War of Independence. After ten long years of war and at a great human and material cost, a new Turkish State, Republic of Turkey was founded on 29th of October 1923.

During this very long and difficult ten years of war, almost all resources of Anatolia were consumed. Its population had fallen from 18 million to 13. When the new Republic was founded, this huge loss of material and human capital, particularly loss of educated people was severely felt.

But Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of our nation, had an extraordinary vision and high aspirations for Turkey. Despite the absolute impossibilities and enormous difficulties a drastic transformation had taken place and the entire fabric of our nation had changed. Ever since our objective has remained the same: bringing Turkey to the highest level of modernization. Let me now pay tribute to the greatest statesman of the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and his comrades-in-arms as well as our martyrs on this glorious day.

After 90 years of hard and dedicated work, today we are proud of our democratic and secular political system; our robust free market economy; our young/dynamic and educated human resources; our compassionate and humane foreign policies.

As an active member of the Euro-Atlantic community, Turkey will not only continue to contribute to the regional and global peace and security as one of the important and responsible players in world affairs but also continue to lend her helping hand to the less fortunate ones through its development assistance programmes all over the world.

We will continue to work harder and do more in order to achieve new set of ambitious goals that we have set for 2023, for our 100th Anniversary.

Distinguished Guests,

It is the same Great War that brought Turkey and New Zealand, too far away countries, together for the first time in history, in our lands, in Çanakkale in 1915 as enemies.

The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 perhaps was one of the most important battles of the Great War in terms of its consequences. It has set the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence, under the leadership of Atatürk who as a young commander at the time changed the fate of the campaign. It marked as well the birth of the national consciousness for New Zealand.

It is this shared history that makes our friendship very special. Following the Great War, Turkey and New Zealand, former enemies of the past, very young independent states of the time, became very close friends. This friendship was reinforced with the extraordinary message of compassion and comfort of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to the families who lost their loved ones in our lands. Since then we have been building upon our relations and long lasting friendship on this solid ground.

During the last 12 months, we hosted Honourable Minister McCully and Honourable Minister Coleman in Turkey, Honourable Minister Parata visited İstanbul, our foreign ministers meet at very possible occasion to exchange views on international issues as well as our bilateral relations; our trade is expanding; number of Turkish students studying in New Zealand is increasing; we collaborate and cooperate on many different international settings and endeavours. In short, the relationship between Turkey and New Zealand has been exceptionally good and I believe is destined to be so. We will continue to work together for further enhancing and diversifying our bilateral ties in every field.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I ask you now to join me in a toast to the personal health and happiness of Her Majesty Elizabeth the II, Queen of New Zealand and to the well-being and the prosperity of people of New Zealand as well as to the excellent Turkish-New Zealand friendship and cooperation.