The Cypriot-Australian community has joined with the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities in calling on the Australian Government to reject a proposed visit by Turkey’s dictator, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last week, the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek communities – who are made up of descendants of survivors of the Ottoman Turkish-committed Genocide of 1915 – launched their Joint Justice Initiative with the goal of advocating “…against any attempt by the Turkish Government to use the sacred ANZAC graves in Gallipoli (and access by Australians to those graves and memorials) as ‘hostages’ or bargaining chips in coercing or persuading the Australian Government in being complicit in the Turkish State’s denial campaign with respect to the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides”.
The Joint Justice Initiative announced that a reported visit by President Erdogan in and around Anzac Day 25th April would be “disrespectful to the legacy of our Anzacs and unacceptable to our communities”, especially as the Armenian Genocide is commemorated on 24th April.
The President of the Federation of Cyprus Communities of Australia & New Zealand, Michael Christodoulou said that Erdogan had no place in Australia while denying genocides and practicing Turkey’s expansionist policies in the region.
“Australia cannot add to the false credibility some countries in the world afford to Erdogan’s Turkey while it continues its illegal occupation of 37% of Cyprus’ territories,” Christodoulou said.
“Impunity for Turkey’s genocidal history has led to Ankara thinking its expansionist policies in Cyprus will also go unpunished, and Australia hosting Erdogan would add undeserved legitimacy for a dictatorship, by a democracy that shares none of his values,” Christodoulou added.
Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian welcomed Cypriot-Australians joining the calls to reject Erdogan made by the Joint Justice Initiative.
“Cypriot-Australians, who are terribly concerned about the security of their compatriots back home, have every reason to be concerned about news that Australia is apparently considering hosting this despotic dictator,” Kayserian said.
“Australians remember that It was only last year, following the Christchurch terrorist attack, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to return Australians and New Zealanders traveling to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day Commemorations ‘in their coffins like their grandfathers’,” Kayserian added.
“Now we are hearing this friend of ISIS, who has created a state of terror by arresting, jailing or dismissing more opposition leaders, minority rights advocates, journalists and academics than any world leader, might be a guest of the Australian Government.”
On 25th February 2020, over 100 Federal Australian parliamentarians, diplomats, departmental officials, political staffers, academics, media and community leaders were treated to cultural performances, food, wine and brandy, as well as the historic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which affirmed that the signatory public affairs representatives of the three communities were jointly committed to seeing Australia recognise the Turkish-committed Genocide against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian citizens of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
The Joint Justice Initiative’s Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Armenian National Committee of Australia, the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia Chapter and the Australian Hellenic Council.