Australia-Turkey ties strengthened

A delegation of Turkish parliamentarians led by Speaker Cemil Çiçek has spent a week in Australia discussing issues of mutual importance such as the plans to commemorate the centenary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. 

While in Canberra the delegation met with Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Veterans Affairs Minister and the Minister responsible for the Centenary of ANZAC Michael Ronaldson, House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry. 

A roundtable discussion at Parliament House with the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and a luncheon with members of the Australia-Turkey Parliamentary Group allowed participants to exchange views on a number of issues confronting the parliaments of both countries.

In a mark of respect to the shared sacrifices of Australian and Turkish servicemen and women, Mr Çiçek visited the Australian War Memorial to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, accompanied by Australian War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson.

Mr Çiçek also laid a wreath at the Kemal Atatürk Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra, and at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

In Victoria, the Turkish delegation met with several state parliamentarians including Legislative Council President Bruce Atkinson and Legislative Assembly Speaker Christine Fyffe. The agenda included discussions on migration patterns and education initiatives.

In New South Wales, the delegation enjoyed meetings with Legislative Council President Don Harwin, Legislative Assembly Assistant Speaker Andrew Fraser and His Excellency Thomas Bathurst, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales.

Discussions focused on the strong relationship Australia and Turkey have forged through people-to-people links.