Australian legislators from New South Wales barred from attending Gallipoli commemorations by Turkish authorities

Posted on on 13 May 2013
Share |

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a statement that Australian legislators from the state of New South Wales will "not have their place[s]" at Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey, after the Australian state passed a motion entitled "Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Genocides".

The New South Wales Government refers to the "Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Genocides" as the "first modern genocides".

The Turkish Government denies that a "genocide" took place and that the term should not be used.

Exact figures for the number of Armenians and other minorities persecuted under Ottoman rule between 1915-1923 vary.

In recent years, countries such as Canada and France have recognised the events of 1915-23 against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", resulting in strained relations with Turkey.

The Australian state of New South Wales is the latest foreign body to recognise the Armenian "genocide", as both Houses of the New South Wales Parliament - the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly - passed a motion which "condemns the genocides of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks, and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of intolerance".

The motion, passed on 1st May 2013, builds upon earlier legisaltion in New South Wales from 1998 which "recognised" and "condemned" the "Genocide of the Armenians".

A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded to the motion passed in New South Wales: "We strongly condemn and reject this motion which is in no way compatible with historic facts".

"It is evident that history will not be rewritten by such motions passed with petty political calculations under the influence of ethnic lobbies known for their excesses and prejudices".

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has asserted that: "Although the solid friendly relations existing between the peoples of Turkey and Australia will not deteriorate because of this unilateral decision which is the fait accompli of a small group, its negative repercussions are nonetheless inevitable".

These "negative repercussions" were confirmed by the Foreign Ministry as including a bar on legislators from New South Wales from attending Anzac or 'Gallipoli Day' commemorations.

The Gallipoli landings are referred to as the 'Battle of Çanakkale' in Turkey.

The statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry continued: "These persons who try to damage the spirit of Çanakkale/Gallipoli will also not have their place in the Çanakkale ceremonies where we commemorate together our sons lying side by side in our soil".

To read the press release from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, dated 7th May 2013, click here.

Images courtesy of the Turkish Foreign Ministry website.

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News