Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Sidney Başkonsolosluğu

Konuşma Metinleri

Gelibolu Sergisi, 25.04.2012

Mr. Acıkalın,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me a great pleasure to inaugurate the exhibition “Gallipoli: When Foes Become Friends” by Mr. Vedat Açıkalın.
Although the first encounter between Turks and Australians was on the battlefields of Gallipoli, 96 years ago, over the years it has transcended into a unique friendship. Thanks to Mr Açıkalın’s marvellous photos taken during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 1990, we will be able to hand over the concrete testimonies of the Turkish-Australian friendship that was struck then to the next generations.
One of the turning points of the 1st WW, the Gallipoli campaign was a heroic combat. We know that the Gallipoli Campaign marked a defining moment in both our nations’ histories. From Turkey’s aspect, the Turkish soldiers who died there in defence of their country one after the other without hesitation showed to the whole world that there was no passage thru the Dardenelles for the allied forces and it was during this very campaign that Ataturk’s leadership qualities were first recognized. And as for Australia Gallipoli is widely regarded as a significant milestone in its passage towards nationhood and identity.
Thousands of Turkish and Australian soldiers lost their lives under horrific war conditions. We commemorate the Battles of the Dardenelles-Gallipoli and the Turkish Martyrs on the 18th of March every year. At the last commemoration ceremony held in the Turkish House in Auburn, we read some of the letters of Turkish and Australian soldiers who fought in Gallipoli. These letters reveal that all who fought there shared a common sacrifice. In the eight months of painful fighting, from trench to bitter trench, the Turkish and Australian soldiers did not hesitate in sharing their food, sorrow and desperation during rare times of ceasefires.
The deep wounds of the war were healed with the spirit of reconciliation by post-war leaders, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey and, of course, the principal defender at Gallipoli.
At the Gallipoli Campaign, each side has created its own legend, and today, with this exhibition, we, once more, extend our respect and gratitude to the heroes of these legends and share their legacy of courage.

Distinguished Guests,
As a Turkish/Australian photographer and photojournalist, Mr. Vedat Açıkalın has made a great contribution to the documentation of the true friendship between Turkey and Australia. Furthermore, Mr Açıkalın, as a teacher, as an entrepreneur, as a photojournalist and as an artist, he has also made considerable contributions to the Australian community. In 1986, he established the Live Action Photographic Agency which was the leading contributor to the Sydney Olympic Bid Books.
This exhibition heralds a bigger exhibition for the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015. Mr. Açıkalın is working on an exhibition project for 2015 which will further enrich the Gallipoli records in an artistic way. Unfortunately, as there are no veterans left, Mr. Açıkalın will portray the descendants of those who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign.
I would like to congratulate Mr. Vedat Açıkalın and those whose valuable efforts made this exhibition possible and I extend my best wishes for the success of this exhibition and for his project for the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015.