Şehitlerimiz Anısına Yapılan Anıtın Açılış Töreninde yapılan konuşma

Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler 07.06.2013
Mr. Mayor,
Değerli Saadet Hanım ve İlker Bey,
Dear Colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Dear friends who have joined us today,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered here on this solemn occasion to pay tribute to the memory of Mr. Erkut Akbay and Mrs. Nadide Akbay, of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Lisbon, who were the innocent victims of a cold blooded act of terrorism in the prime of their lives committed by an extremist Armenian terrorist organization at this location exactly 31 years ago, on 7 June 1982. Mr. Akbay lost his life then and there and Mrs. Akbay some months after. This is a tragic and sad date in the collective memory of the Turkish nation and our Portuguese friends.

I know that this date also marks a special day for the Municipality of Oeiras, as it happens to coincide with its own municipal day. We thus appreciate that the Municipality, which embraced the idea to erect a permanent monument in memory of the Akbay’s who had chosen Oeiras as their home, decided to inaugurate this tribute as part of its commemoration of Oeiras Day.

Diplomats work relentlessly and bravely in different corners of the world to spread the principles engraved on this monument. They are essentially emissaries of peace. Unfortunately however, during their endeavours to that end, they are increasingly in today’s world becoming the target of terrorism. This was very much the case in the 70’s and 80’s when the lives of some 35 Turkish diplomats, family members and Embassy staff were claimed in cowardly acts of terrorism committed by radical Armenian organizations. Tragically Erkut and Nadide Akbay were among them.

They were good people, hard working, patriotic professionals, loving and caring parents and kind hearted souls, who left behind two young heartbroken children aged 5 and 11. They are here with us today as grown adults. Saadet Akbay and İlker Akbay. I am certain that this is very difficult for them, to relive the tragic trauma that altered their lives dramatically. Yet at the same time I believe they too are very grateful to the Portuguese authorities for honouring the memory of their parents in such a meaningful way. It is a small consolation in face of their great loss and their robbed childhood.

As a country that has lost many innocent lives to this heinous scourge, Turkey, strongly condemns all acts of terrorism. In the face of the threat that terrorism continues to pose for all our countries, Turkey has always been a leading strong advocate of the need for effective international cooperation in combatting it.

While the monument we are inaugurating today honours the memory of Mr.and Mrs. Akbay, in their person, it is also dedicated to the memory of all diplomats and public servants who have fallen in the line of foreign service duty. We have in our thoughts today all our Martyr’s whose love of country and duty was dearer than life itself.

I therefore want to take this occasion to also pay homage to the memory of Cahide Mıhçıoğlu, the spouse of Mr. Yurtsev Mıhçıoğlu, the Turkish Charge d’Affairs at the time and Mr. Manuel Pacheco, the Portuguese police officer, who were slain one year later on the 27th of July 1983 at the Turkish Embassy once again by an Armenian terrorist group.

We are reminded of our four Martyr’s each and every day at our Embassy in passing by the permanent installation we have established in tribute to them. They are in our hearts and prayers always.

Art is the strongest form of expression. This memorial constitutes a firm expression of our two peace loving countries’ joint stance against the scourge of terrorism. It also symbolises our common quest for peace, justice and liberty throughout the world.

We are honoured that the celebrated sculptor Mr. Francisco Simoes, recognized as the renowned artist behind the many beautiful sculptures of the Oeiras Poet’s Park, undertook this project. I thank Mr. Simoes for the monument he has created to give a lasting resting place in our common recollection to Mr. and Mrs.Akbay at this intersection across form the home in which they lived and where their lives were prematurely taken from them.

I wish to express our deep appreciation to the Portuguese authorities, first and foremost the Mayor Dr. Paulo Vistas and everyone associated with this project at the Oeiras Municipality, for making this possible and the solidarity that you have displayed.

Gratitude is the hardest of all emotions to express at times. There is no word capable of conveying all that one feels. This is one such moment. I thank you most profoundly, on behalf of the Turkish Government, the children, family and friends of the Akbay’s, and myself.

I hope that this will represent the first step towards others to come in fruitful cooperation between Oeiras and a future Turkish sister municipality.

Last but not least, we are also grateful to all of you who have gone out of your way to be here today to share this moment with us as we pay our respects and honour the memory of Erkut and Nadide Akbay,
May they rest in peace…

I believe Mr. Ilker Akbay would also like to say a few words.


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