The Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia has written a letter objecting to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Australia to attend the ANZAC Day commemoration events, stating, “Erdogan’s visit is an affront to Australian history and values.”
Below is the letter in full, which was signed off by the Associations’ President Peter Stefanidis and Secretary Nikolaos Makridis:
“The Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia vehemently objects the President of Turkey’s upcoming visit to Australia to attend the ANZAC Day commemoration events. Any leader of a nation that wishes to call Australia a friend would not belittle the memories of those fallen soldiers by saying:
” Such a person has no place at any Australian ceremony commemorating the fallen heroes of Australia who went into battle to fight against the genocide of innocent people whose crime was that they were different.
One doesn’t need to look outside of Turkey to see how egregious Erdogan’s actions are and how dangerous he is. He has carried out a purge of Turkish society, punishing his perceived enemies, by closing 189 media outlets and jailed some 319 journalists. Turkey is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the Reporters without Borders 2019 index of press freedom. 96,885 people have been arrested thus far and 6,021 academics have been dismissed. These travesties mock the values that Australia holds dear and has sent its sons and daughters to die for.
His antisemitic sentiments have been called out more than once by the Jewish community and Israeli leaders. Many others had been denied a visa to Australia for saying less.
Members of the Greek community are mortified that a leader who has behaved so egregiously would have been granted the privilege of entering our country let alone attend one of our most sacred ceremonies.
As the descendants of the victims of the genocide that Erdogan and his government continue to threateningly deny, we object to his visit and demand that he apologise to the Australian public for using the fallen of our nation to score cheap political points to further his totalitarian regime spreading war in the middle east, continue to illegally occupy Cyprus and violate Greek sovereignty.”