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Turkish International Service At Mehmetcik Abide

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Speech Notes

25th April 2001

(6pm NZ time 25th April 2001)

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

As a New Zealander, I am honoured to stand here today. For all New Zealanders, Gallipoli is a special place, and this is a special day.

For our young country, we suffered appalling losses in the Gallipoli campaign. Out of this tragedy, however, came the first realisation of New Zealand as a separate nation with its own identity.

At this time, we remember the soldiers from many lands who fell during the Gallipoli campaign.

We remember the brave Turkish soldiers who fought heroically in defence of their country. We remember the moving words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who said:

“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 their 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”.

The suffering of soldiers on both sides at Gallipoli has laid the foundation for the lasting friendship between our two nations.

We remember the comradeship between the New Zealand and Australian soldiers. It was here that the Anzac spirit was born, and that friendship remains as important today.

We remember the losses suffered by soldiers from France and Britain, India, Pakistan, Canada, Ireland ... [fill in when complete].

We stand here today in what is now a Peace Park. I appreciate the far-sighted gesture of the Turkish Government in setting aside this land, which has seen so much suffering in the past, as a memorial to the cause of peace.

The lesson from the tragedy that occurred here in Gallipoli 86 years ago is the importance of peace as our goal for the future. Looking back on the losses suffered by our countries in this place, all of us can only be strengthened in our resolve to seek an end to wars and to strive for peace and justice in the world. Only in this way can we truly honour the sacrifice of all those who gave their lives for us, their descendants. We owe this much to our past, and to our children’s future.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.


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