SYDNEY—Turkey has sensationally stated that certain Australian legislators are not welcome to take part in Anzac celebrations in Gallipoli, as a consequence for passing a motion recognizing the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides.
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 Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC 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.
ANC Australia will be meeting with legislators of Australia’s largest state of NSW in coming days, as many are deeply offended at having an ally nation ban elected Australian officials from taking part in Anzac celebrations in Gallipoli, Turkey.