Both Houses of the New South Wales State Parliament (Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly) passed motions over the last week, affirming the reality of the 1915 Genocides which Turkey still denies.
In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has released a statement stating that those who were responsible for this motion will “doubtlessly be deprived of the hospitality and friendship” normally extended to Australians.
More specifically, the official statement says: “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.”
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia, commemorating the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives during World War I after landing in Gallipoli, Turkey on April 25th 1915. Every year, thousands of Australians make a pilgrimage to Gallipoli for commemoration ceremonies.
The ANC of Australia says that this statement technically means that all members of both Houses of New South Wales Parliament cannot make this pilgrimage, and will not be treated hospitably if they visited Turkey due to this legislation, which affirms the reality of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the genocides of Assyrians and Greeks.
ANC Australia Executive Director, Vache Kahramanian said: “The Turkish Republic is once again trying to gag a democratic state because of their desire to speak the truth.”
“Turkey has time and time again tried to interfere in the legislative affairs of nations and legislatures who have the moral standing to recognize the heinous crime of genocide.”
“Turkey is attempting to utilize the sacred memory of Gallipoli as a political football. This is a deplorable action and should be condemned by all,” Kahramanian added.
Kahramanian noted that Turkey has had a long history of making such threats against nations who have recognized the Armenian genocide, including France and Canada. None of these threats, which include ceasing trade and diplomatic relations, have ever materialized.
Full text of Statement
Below is the full text of the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
No: 133, 7 May 2013, Press Release Regarding the Motion Passed by the Legislative Council of the Parliament of the State of New South Wales in Australia
The Legislative Council of the Parliament of the State of New South Wales in Australia passed on 1 May 2013 a motion entitled “Assyrian, Armenian and Greek genocides”.We strongly condemn and reject this motion which is in no way compatible with historic facts. The fact that this motion has been passed through a fait accompli by a local politician, whose antagonism to Turkey in his attitude and behavior is well-known, during a session at the State Parliament attended by a small number of parliamentarians, shows how lightly and unsoundly such a sensitive issue is dealt with. 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.
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. In this context, the proponents of such initiatives aimed at dealing a blow to the very special relations that exist between our peoples will doubtlessly be deprived of the hospitality and friendship that we will never withold from the people of Australia. 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.
Necessary representations with Australian authorities have been made, stressing that our primary expectation from the Australian authorities for the sake of our relations that have developed so far on the basis of friendship, is that they be more attentive to unacceptable claims directed towards Turkey and the Turkish identity and that they take timely action against initiatives carrying anti-Turkish content and hate-speech.