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Address on the occasion of a State Dinner in honour of the Governor-General hosted by the President of the Republic of Turkey.

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26 APRIL 2006

Thank you, Your Excellency, for your very warm welcome to my wife, me and my delegation on the first official visit by an Australian Governor-General to Turkey. It has been a deeply enriching experience, encompassing visits to Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus, Canakkale, Troy and Gallipoli.   Our Government was delighted to welcome your Prime Minister, Mr Erdoðan to Australia last December; the first visit by a Turkish Prime Minister to our country. And in coming months, Australia will welcome Foreign Minister Gül who will open the magnificent new Turkish Embassy in Canberra.   These visits highlight the great progress both our countries have made in strengthening bilateral relations.   In thinking of Turkey, one is reminded of its magnificent pageant of history, peoples and cultures, from the Hittites, through the epic Trojan Wars, the classical Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine civilisations, and the great Ottoman Empire, from which emerged the modern Turkish Republic.   Australians also marvel at the architecture of Turkey - sublime classical traditions which culminated in the magnificent Haggia Sophia, and the Seliniye - evidence of the genius of the architect Sinan. And indeed the world has long been captivated by Turkish art - the ceramics, jewellery, miniature paintings, calligraphy, the elevation of gardens to a high art form, and the cultivation of plants universally loved, such as the tulip and the rose.   This ancient city of Ankara itself has been receptive to centuries of cultural influence. The name, tracing its derivation to 'anchor', is just that - an ancient city anchored in the past but not bound to it, capital of the Turkish Republic and forward looking.   Mr President. Australia and Turkey have long enjoyed a very special friendship that was born out of war. For Australians, Gallipoli is a place where, despite defeat, the soldiers of our young nation gave Australia the core of our national identity based on their example of courage, comradeship, compassion and personal endurance. As the Turkish proverb notes: "A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man."   We in Australia recognise that Gallipoli was also crucially important to the development of the modern Turkish Republic. The Battle of Çanakkale was a great victory for Turkey and a moment in history when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, emerged as a brilliant military commander and the revered future leader of his people. Indeed his leadership ensured the creation of your Republic.     Atatürk's words written 72 years ago continue to resound strongly in the hearts and minds of all Australians:   "You, the mothers who sent your sons from far away 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."  

A leader is truly great when he can embrace his fallen enemies as 'sons'.

  Today, Turkey and Australia are very good friends, sharing a common heritage of sacrifice, courage and compassion, won for them by the deeds of their respective soldiers at Gallipoli.   Young Turkish people now join Australians at Gallipoli commemorations - it is a remarkable aspect of our respective histories that former combatants have grown to have such close and friendly bonds. The warm welcome extended to thousands of Australian visitors to Turkey every year and the fact that 100,000 Turks now live in Australia as respected, hard working and law abiding citizens is proof positive of the closeness and durability of that relationship.   But significant as Gallipoli has been to our relationship, we now look to other dimensions to further develop that linkage.   For example, in order to boost links between young Turkish and Australian people our governments have extended scholarship programs, making five places available for Turkish students to study in Australia and five for Australian students to study in Turkey.   Australia is well situated to provide quality tertiary education services and we hope to see many more Turkish students in our universities in coming years.     Last December, Australia and Turkey signed a working holiday arrangement designed to increase the number of young people visiting each other's country.   Your Excellency, there is great scope to expand our economic relationship. Australia has a wealth of experience and expertise in the mining and agricultural sectors, exporting gold, coal, wool, iron ore and medical preparations to Turkey. Turkey's expertise in the markets of the Middle East, Europe, the Baltic and Russia is of great interest to Australia, and we would encourage the business communities of both countries to foster greater partnership and cooperation in pursuing the opportunities available.   To this end Australia and Turkey have signed and ratified an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, and a Joint Economic Committee meeting was held in Ankara in November 2005 to give political endorsement to our economic relationship.   Mr President, may I say that from Australia's perspective, Turkish membership of the EU would bring great benefits not just to Turkey but also to the rest of Europe. And thus Australia wishes Turkey every success in the accession process.   Our two countries share a number of global objectives. We both have high quality forces in Afghanistan, to help bring peace and stability to that troubled nation. Our countries are both committed to the development of a democratic and stable Iraq and the maintenance of Iraq's territorial integrity. And Australia and Turkey are active United Nations members and strong advocates of arms control and countering nuclear proliferation. I would hope personally that some way may be found to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and the Palestine/Israeli problem.   Your Excellency, I am very pleased that on this visit to your beautiful nation, I have opportunities to meet Turkish people in their own country and to gain some experience of your rich culture.   May I say how grateful I am for the warmth of the welcome that has been extended to my wife and me by you and the people of Turkey.   I commend you on your contribution to the people of Turkey as their President. Your dedication across a lifetime to the legal profession and your commitment to democratic principles is well known and respected.   And as you noted in your address at the UN Millennium Summit in New York in 2000, "the freedom from want, the freedom from fear and the freedom of future generations to sustain their lives, constitute

the three overarching objectives for achieving further human progress. We are living in a world where

hope exists side by side with desperation, opportunities lie against poverty and great difficulties, and where joy is often shadowed by gloom. That we, as the global community, today still expend vast resources for benign and malign causes, is perhaps the most profound irony of our time."   Mr President, you continue to bring your considerable skills and experience to bear on your high office, and have shown your resolve and great capacity to draw people together.   Your Excellency. Marlena and I will always remember our wonderful visit to Turkey with very great affection.