It’s been a big week. Not only for Australia, not only for New Zealand, but also for Turkey.
Yesterday all of us who were privileged to be part of the Anzac Day commemoration – the 100 years – couldn’t be anything but deeply moved.
The event yesterday, and of course the impressive contribution of HMAS Anzac to the commemoration, left everyone recognising that we celebrated – we commemorated – the birth certificate arguably of three nations - Australia, New Zealand and indeed Turkey.
Because the events of Anzac Day, and the consequent struggle, I think in many ways gave great meaning to the Australian identity, to the New Zealand identity, and of course, laid the foundations for the formation of the modern Turkish Republic.
And to be here tonight, with so many people aboard the Anzac I think is a fantastic way for all of us to underline the events of the last couple of days.
And might I just say about HMAS Anzac, the crew, the officers, it makes us all proud – well I can speak on behalf of the Australians here - you make us all a little bit more proud to be Australian.
Your professionalism, the deployment where you will keep your work going through Italy and Malta, and other destinations further, brings great pride to Australia.
It was an earlier Australian ship, in the Korean war, who insisted upon a piece of brass putting the red kangaroo on the side of the ship so that people didn’t confuse us with the English ships. And again the Anzac will continue that tradition.
And I might also say in closing, it is great to have so many representatives of the Australian community in Turkey, and of course our Turkish friends.
I think there is a lot more that Australia and Turkey can do to understand each other and to form closer ties.
Turkey is a pivotal democracy in this region, a pivotal democracy in this region.
And be it the light-touch military diplomacy of HMAS Anzac, or indeed the remarkable work of Australians and Turkish Australians working in Istanbul and other destinations here, I think that we should use the remarkable events of the last week, the fantastic hospitality of tonight, and the hard work of everyone here just to feel that little bit more spring in our step about the possibilities of growing deeper and more rewarding ties between Australia and Turkey.
Thank you very much.
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