Remarks by Ambassador Selçuk Ünal on the Occasion of the 17th Anniversary of the Turkish Peace Garden

Selçuk Ünal 18.05.2017

Değerli Vatandaşlarım,

Madame et Monsieur,

Dear Guests,

It is a pleasure for me to join my distinguished fellow nationals and esteemed Canadians on the 17th anniversary of the opening of the Turkish Peace Garden in the Botanical Garden of Montréal and 98th anniversary of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day. I salute all, including the İznik Foundation, who have been instrumental in making this Peace Garden which is based on the cultural heritage of Turkey.

Sur le 17e anniversaire du jardin turc de la paix, je voudrais remercier le jardin botanique, Monsieur Gérard Emin Battika et tous les fonctionnaires et citoyens pour rendre cette rencontre possible une fois de plus dans l'un des plus beaux jardins du monde (On the 17th anniversary of the Turkish Peace Garden, I would like to thank the Botanical Garden, Mr Gérard Emin Battika and all the officials and citizens, to make this meeting possible once again in one of the most beautiful gardens in the world).

I would also like to thank Mr. Osman Şahan and Mrs. Derya Şerbetçi Acar for the contributions of the Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism to this event.

Mr. Emin Battika has been distinctively serving as the Turkish Honorary Consul General in Montreal for almost two decades. As he had been paying great efforts during his assignment, we once again thank him for his great services for the Turkish community. On this occasion, I would also like to welcome and introduce Mr. Barkan Umruk, the first resident Turkish Consul General in Montreal. I wish him success in his new assignment.

This garden is a manifestation of the enthusiasm and commitment of the Turkish community towards the Canadian ideal. It was a gift from the Turkish people, Turkey, the İznik Foundation to the city and people of Montreal on the occasion of the commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkey - a public holiday celebrated on May 19. This day marks the beginning of the War of Liberation led by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades-in-arms for our country which resulted in the signing of the Peace Treaty of Lausanne and foundation of the Republic of Turkey. Therefore, this day was dedicated to all youngsters in Turkey and elsewhere - as they represent the future.

That is why, we deeply regret the recent adoption of a declaration by Montreal City Council associating this day with a so-called Greek genocide. It is a tragic act for those who turn their back to truth and an insult to the spirit which is shown here in this Peace Garden. First War ended in November 1918. But it did not end for the Turks on that day. Violating the armistice conditions, Greek Army started its occupation of Anatolia from İzmir on May 15, 1919, continued its onslaught. The results of that occupation was stated in Article 59 of the Peace Treaty of Lausanne that confirmed the “huge damage caused in Anatolia by the acts of the Greek Army or administration which were contrary to the laws of war”. The war crimes of the invading Greek army lasted longer than 3 years and ended on September 9, 1922 when they had to leave from the same city they had landed on after setting İzmir on fire. Montreal City Council’s decision damages peaceful bridges between the peoples living in this country.

Mes compatriotes veulent croire que leur patrimoine au Canada seront toujours respectés et servir comme un autre atout de ce pays. Aujourd'hui, ils maintiennent leur espoir d'un avenir meilleur dans la société dans laquelle ils vivent et qu'ils ont confiance en leur espoir s'ajouter d'autres forces dans chaque jour qui passe. Nous devons conserver cet espoir vivant (My compatriots want to believe that their heritage in Canada will always be respected and served as another asset of this country. Today they maintain their hope for a better future in the society in which they live and that they trust in their hope to add other forces in every passing day. We must keep this hope alive.).

Merci beaucoup.

Değerli Vatandaşlarım,

Montreal Belediye Meclisi, Yunan ordularının İzmir’e çıktığı tarih olan 15 Mayıs’ta, Kurtuluş Savaşımızı Rum Pontus Soykırımı olarak nitelendiren, tarihi gerçekleri saptıran ve 19 Mayıs’ı Rum Pontus Soykırımı Anma Günü olarak kabul eden bir karar almıştır. Yunanistan Anadolu’nun işgali sırasında yaptığı insan hakları ve savaş hukuku ihlalleri nedeniyle savaş sonunda uluslararası hukuk önünde tazminata mahkum edilmişti. Karar bu nedenle haksızdır.

Türkiye, I. Dünya Savaşı’nda mağlup olup, bilahare muzaffer olan tek ülkedir. Milletimize, tarihimize, Kurtuluş Savaşımıza, aziz hatıraları önünde her zaman hürmetle eğildiğimiz Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ve silah arkadaşları ile aziz şehitlerimizin ruhuna hakaret niteliğindeki bu kararı şiddetle kınıyoruz ve reddediyoruz. Bu karar, bazı radikal çevrelerin Montreal Türk toplumunun Kanada’da barış ve huzur içinde bir gelecek inşa etmesini engellemeye yönelik girişimlerin yeni bir örneğidir.

Hepinize saygı, selam ve sevgilerimi sunuyorum.

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