Turkish Republic 100th Anniversary Ball
Representing the Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Member for Toohey, Mr Peter Russo MP, The Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Adrian Schrinner and Lady Mayoress Nina Schrinner; Deputy Mayor, Councillor Krista Adams; Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Türkiye (TOOR-kee-yeh), Mr Turgut Manli and Dr Lutfiye Manli; Members of the Diplomatic Corps., Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.
I, too, would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
Graeme and I are honoured to join Brisbane’s Turkish community tonight to celebrate a hundred years since Türkiye became a republic, with the inspirational leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as its first president.
Through a quirk of history, Ataturk became part of Australia’s story, too, as the commander of the Ottoman forces that defeated the Allies, including the ANZAC forces, in the battles at Canakkale in April 1915.
Ataturk might have become just a footnote in the history of Australia’s involvement in World War I, were it not for the exceptional generosity of spirit he demonstrated in acknowledging the defeated Allies.
That acknowledgement, addressed directly to the soldiers who had died in Türkiye, was:
“You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.
That simple but powerful message has earned Ataturk the enduring respect of all Australians and the words, now inscribed on a memorial at ANZAC Cove, welcome the thousands of Australians who travel to Türkiye each year to attend solemn commemoration ceremonies.
Ataturk’s message also underpins the trust, friendship and mutual respect that has developed between our two countries in the century since those battles.
The relationship was reinforced in 1967 when a bilateral agreement was signed, creating greater opportunities for Turkish migrants to come to Australia and enabling the establishment of a Turkish Embassy in Canberra for the first time.
Today, Türkiye also has a consulate in Melbourne, an honorary consulate here in Brisbane and more than 120,000 Turks now call Australia home.
That bridge of friendship has been greatly strengthened through the involvement of both countries in the United Nations and the G20, and, as our trade ties have matured, Australia and Türkiye now exchange a quite bewildering array of goods and services.
Today, the streets and parks and homes of Türkiye will come alive with fireworks and red and white flags as more than 85 million people proudly mark the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Republic.
They will be joined by more than six million others in the world-wide Turkish diaspora, including here in Australia.
It’s an achievement that we should all celebrate, and I thank you once again, Mr Manli, for inviting Graeme and me to be part of it.
Happy Republic Day!