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STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEGINNING OF ÇANAKKALE LAND BATTLES, 22.04.2015

STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE BEGINNING OF ÇANAKKALE LAND BATTLES
(22 April 2015, The Canterbury Club, Christchurch)

The guest of honour, the Honourable Sir Don,
Commander Rooke,
Distinguished members of the Canterbury Club,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Kia ora. Good evening.
It is a great pleasure for me to be in this beautiful city as the guest of the Canterbury Club, among so many distinguished people. This week, all around the world, we commemorate side by side with our New Zealander and Australian friends and honour the fallen in Gallipoli.
As the memories of Çanakkale Land Battles, “the last gentlemen’s war” reach the age of a hundred, the historical background of our relationship continues to stand the test of time. Our grandfathers were introduced to each other at a time of war. Their posterity have held on to the chance of building this unique friendship which they were denied. As a Turk in New Zealand, I am proud to say I am now surrounded by friends.
With your indulgence, I would like to say a few words about our bilateral relations. We have enjoyed excellent relations with New Zealand. Both Turkey and New Zealand are active participants who share the same values and priorities regarding prominent questions we face today. As 25 April draws closer, we are happy to host Prime Minister Key as I speak in Turkey, where in a few hours he will deliver the keynote speech to the Peace Summit in İstanbul. In the context of the centenary commemorations, most recently, a 7-tonne block of granite we brought from Gallipoli was installed as the base of the brilliant statue of Horace-Moore Jones in Hamilton. Around New Zealand, including Christchurch, stones from Gallipoli are part of memorials, but Christchurch has one additional difference: Being “The Garden City”, it now hosts trees from Turkey. They are literally living proof of our constantly flourishing relations that branch out into the future.
I am also proud to say that the Turkish community in New Zealand has become an increasingly important part of the society. Turkish surgeons, engineers, financial experts and several others from different professions are actively working for the betterment of the New Zealand society. Our bilateral trade volume has increased by about 70% over the last 5 years. In the cultural sphere, we are also expanding our relations, and the latest example of that is the upcoming photo exhibition commemorating Gallipoli which will tour Auckland, Wellington and of course Christchurch.
I could go on with these examples, stressing every aspect of our relations, but I would like to now remember all our grandfathers, to whom we owe all of this. And what better way than to remember them with Atatürk’s words. I will leave you with them: