SYDNEY–Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Marie Ficarra has condemned a statement released by the Turkish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which suggests the country will block Australian politicians from visiting Gallipoli for the centenary of ANZAC Day in 2015.
Turkey’s statement was made after both Houses of the NSW Parliament adopted unanimous motions, recognizing the Greek and Assyrian genocides as well as reaffirming the Armenian Genocide.
The 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.”
In a letter address to the Consul-General of Turkey, Ficarra states: “To politicize Gallipoli is also an unacceptable and irrational act and comments such as ‘not have their place in the Çanakkale ceremonies where we commemorate together our sons lying side by side in our soil’ only diminishes Turkey’s credibility and reputation. I do not have respect for such excessive comments and actions.”
Ficarra, who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of NSW, also countered Turkey’s accusations that the motion was “hate speech” by rejecting what she called an “incorrect assertion”.
She went on to say: “I reiterate the Hon. Fred Nile’s statements that his Motion, and I know the Premier’s similarly, was not to attack or denigrate the modern State of Turkey but place on record the undeniable true history and properly acknowledge those who have suffered such disgraceful atrocities.”
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, Vache Kahramanian said: “We thank the Honourable Marie Ficarra for taking a firm stance on this issue. It is unacceptable that Turkey politicizes the sacred memory of our ANZAC’s by making such threats against Australian citizens, and the politicians we elect.”
“The historic facts of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides are undeniable and indisputable, and the motion passed by the New South Wales Parliament is a further testament to that.”
The sensational statement and threat by Turkey against Australian citizens and politicians has already received international media coverage, while locally The Australian is among the news sources to have covered the story.