Speech Delivered By The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister Of State (foreign Affairs And Consular) On The First Anniversary Of The Inauguration Of The Monument To Fallen Diplomats, Sunday, September 22th 2013
As we mark the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Monument to Fallen Diplomats, on behalf of all Canadians, I would like to reiterate our deepest sympathy to Colonel Atilla Altikat’s family and friends, and to the Turkish people.
As you know, Minister Baird participated in the inauguration of this important monument on September 20, 2012, where he underlined that Canada unequivocally condemns violence as a means to advance political objectives.
Indeed, just days ago, Minister Baird visited Turkey where he and Minister Davutoglu discussed just these kinds of issues, and in particular the tragic violence in Syria and the best way forward for the international community to respond.
This monument pays particular tribute to the memory of Colonel Atilla Altikat, former military attaché of the Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa, who was assassinated by terrorists on August 27, 1982, on the very spot the monument now occupies.
While the monument is dedicated to Col. Altikat, it is also dedicated to all diplomats and public servants around the world who have lost their lives in the service of their country.
Sadly, Turkey and Canada are among the many countries that have lost diplomats and other public servants through acts of terrorism aimed at our countries.
For as long as our respective diplomats and public servants have served abroad, they have been victims of threats, kidnappings, and bombings, or have been caught up in natural disasters, civil wars and violent protests.
Many have had their lives painfully altered by such events. Some, tragically, have paid the ultimate price with their own lives.
It is deeply saddening that today Canada is mourning the death of a young Canadian diplomat, who died yesterday in a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya.
As a dedicated public servant who was serving in Canada's High Commission to Kenya, Annemarie Desloges was among the many innocent people killed or injured in an appalling assault on decency. Last night, Prime Minister Harper paid tribute to Annemarie's selfless service abroad for our country. She leaves behind her husband who was among those injured in the attack.
As the Prime Minister noted yesterday, "Terrorist attacks like this seek to undermine the very values and way of life that Canadians cherish, and they reinforce the need for us to continue taking strong actions to protect the safety of Canadians no matter where they are in the world.
“Acts of terror cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Canadian staff at our mission are offering Kenyan authorities every possible assistance to bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice.”
You may also remember that, not long ago, Glyn Berry, another of our distinguished diplomats, was killed in a brutal car bomb attack in Afghanistan in 2006.
We honour his sacrifice here today, too, as we do every day through the ongoing good work of the Glyn Berry Program, which supports the development of policies, laws and institutions that seek to promote the protection of individuals from violence and the instability of fragile states.
Canada is engaged at all levels, both at home and abroad, to counter terrorism and extremist narratives, to address drivers of instability in fragile regions of the world, and to build a better, more peaceful, more prosperous world. In doing so, we rely on our diplomats of course, but also our development workers, our police and our soldiers.
We honour them, for their talent, courage, and sacrifice.
In closing, allow me to express once again Canada’s deep gratitude to Turkey for this gift.
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