Australian-Turkish memorial sculpture (14.04.2015)
Written on the 16 April 2015
14 April 2015
GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
Yesterday I had the pleasure, along with colleagues in this house the President, Bruce Atkinson, the shadow Minister for Veterans, Damian Drum, the shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich, and the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Adem Somyurek, to attend the opening of the magnificent Australian-Turkish memorial sculpture Seeds of Friendship.
Also in attendance were a former Premier, the Honourable Ted Baillieu and a former Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Honourable Hugh Delahunty, both of whom were instrumental in securing funding and support for the project when the idea was first raised. The Victorian RSL president, Major General David McLachlan, AO, spoke eloquently of the project and highlighted the commitment by the members of the Turkish sub-branch of the Victorian Returned and Services League. The Premier, Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells and leading members of the Turkish community all spoke at the opening.
As we commemorate the centenary of Anzac, this memorial honours the strong and close relationship between Australia and Turkey. I am reminded of my travels to Gallipoli in 2000 and the following powerful and moving words of reconciliation by Ataturk on a headstone at Anzac Cove that I and so many others have read:
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 now here in this country of ours You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway 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.
This sculpture represents a binding friendship between both our countries and hopefully a peaceful future for us all.