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SPEECH BY H.E. DAMLA YEŞİM SAY, AMBASSADOR OF TURKEY, AT THE EXHIBITION AT OTAKI MUSEUM (5 June 2015), 05.06.2015

SPEECH BY H.E. DAMLA YEŞİM SAY, AMBASSADOR OF TURKEY,
AT THE EXHIBITION AT OTAKI MUSEUM (5 June 2015)


Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

Kia Ora,
Greetings to everyone,

I wish to welcome you all to the launching ceremony of the “Çanakkale-Road to Peace out of War” exhibition to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaing/Canakkale Land Battles.

Let me start by thanking Mr. Kerry Hoggard, Chairman of the Otaki Museum Board of Trustees for his kind introduction and extend our gratitude to all the Board members who are with us today.

I want to acknowledge Mr Su’a William Sio, Member of Parliament and Co-chair of the New Zealand-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group and His Worship Ross Church, Mayor of Kapiti. We certainly are honoured to have them here with us.

I am grateful to Ms. Jan Harris, the Curator of the exhibition, and Ms. Cathy Holmes who assisted us with the publicizing, as well as everyone who worked diligently for making this exhibition possible in this historic building.

I also want to single out two of my staff who put together this exhibition very successfully and in a very patient manner despite many unreasonable instructions from their Ambassador. My sincere thanks go to Ms Adele Wood, my Personal Assistant, a neighbour of yours in Paraparaumu and Mr Emrah Öcalan, Second Secretary of the Embassy.

The exhibition is composed of 29 photos which were brought together by the Turkish General Staff from different collections. You will see the original sources which are indicated at the bottom of each photo. We also brought some pebbles from Anzac Cove as a symbol of our friendship and some books to peruse. Following here in Otaki, these photos will be exhibited later this year in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Auckland and Christchurch. It is part of the activities of our Embassy to commemorate the centenary of the Çanakkale Land Battles, or the Gallipoli Campaign.


It is true that at hundred years later, memories of war are still heart-breaking and deeply affect us all. With devastating casualty numbers, there are few families, if any, that are not scarred by the war’s effects. Nonetheless, we, Turks and New Zealanders have certainly set an example for the whole world on how to forge a unique friendship out of painful memories.

“Çanakkale-Road to Peace out of War” is sharing this beautiful venue with “Otaki Remembers World War I”. These two exhibitions, perfectly complementing each other, are in fact not only showing us how similar the human side of war but also setting yet another example of the unique friendship between Turkey and New Zealand.

Today we are standing here a century later, side by side, for a common cause: To honour our fallen, to cherish their memories, and to stand proudly together as two great nations.

Thank you.