''Ayla'' Special Screening / Speech of the Ambassador / Senate

Selçuk ÜNAL 22.03.2018
Senator Yonah Martin,
Ambassador Maengho Shin,
Honourable Senators and Members of Parliament,
Ambassadors, Defence Attaches,
Veterans of the Korean War,
Friends, Guests,

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice and the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Canada, our Embassy has the pleasure to bring in the Turkish movie “Ayla” for a special screening in cooperation with the Canadian Senate, the Embassy of Republic of Korea, Turkish Ministry of Culture, Turkish Airlines and of course the producer company Dijital Sanatlar (Digital Arts). I would like to specially thank The Honourable Senator Yonah Martin for hosting this event. As a member of the Turkey-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group, she and her esteemed staff were dedicated to the movie from the very first day we spoke.

Mr. Yusuf Başer, Chairperson of the Turkey-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of Parliament from Yozgat who was visiting Canada, is not able to join us today since he returned, but he was present on the first pre-screening of Ayla on March 17th, on the occasion of 18 March Martrys Day Commemoration at the Canada War Museum.

2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Canada. Our relations started in the midst of the Second World War. However, relations have a longer history, including the Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s participation in the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War in 1915 where Turkish forces were commanded by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who later has become the first President of the modern Republic of Turkey. The Gallipoli campaign has a significance for turning tragedies of the war into friendship between Turkey and the nations which took part in the campaign. It has also been true for Turkey and Canada, which have been close allies during the past 75 years within NATO.

In the Korean War, where Turkey played a key role, Turkey and Canada fought shoulder to shoulder for the first time and defended democratic ideals. The code name of the Turkish Brigade was the “North Star” where it fought in many fronts - Kunuri being the fiercest one. The Turkish troop contribution and casualties was fourth after the US, UK and Canada. The Brigade at the end received the American Distinguished Unit Citation, the South Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the South Korean Order of Military Merit. A “blood brotherhood” was born between Turkey and South Korea. This relationship is still very strong and will remain so. After the war, it was also an interesting coincidence that on September 21, 1951, NATO Council recommended NATO membership of Turkey herein Ottawa.

The movie will continue from Ottawa to Vancouver again for a joint special screening and then to the US for another festival. The movie talks about itself. But, I wish to underline a few points. It was the official candidate of Turkey in foreign language category in Oscars. It is a true story. It is about motherhood, fatherhood, friendship and war. That is why, it earned several prizes in festivals.
The main character in question, NCO Mr. Süleyman Dilbirliği, unfortunately has just passed away. However, he saw the movie. As the Embassy of the Republic of Korea knows, we have another Korea Veteran herein Canada. Mr. Vahe Bedrossian - known as Vahe Amca - who is residing in Toronto. He was able to attend to a special screening of “Ayla” at the margins of Toronto International Film Festival. However, he cannot make it today.

Today we salute not only the ones whom we lost in Korea, but all our martrys who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country. I now would like to invite Ms. Pınar Ercan representing the Digital Arts Company for her remarks.

Thank you.


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