New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark announced on Monday that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit New Zealand from 4-7 December. Erdogan will travel with a group of ministers, parliamentarians, officials, a large delegation of business people and the media. The purpose of the trip said Helen Clark is to help foster the broader political and economic relationship with Turkey and build on the bonds arising from the shared experience of the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.
"Turkey is in a unique strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East," said Helen Clark.
"Turkey has an increasingly important role to play in building links and understanding between these two important geopolitical entities. Turkey has begun negotiations to join the EU, and it is expected that its economy will reap the benefits, in terms of business growth, trade and investment, of the reform programme which will run concurrently with the accession negotiations.
"New Zealand relations with Turkey have developed steadily over the last few years. High level visits in both directions and the establishment of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) to promote trade and economic activities have provided an important impetus to the relationship. There is a small Turkish community in New Zealand. In January 1992 Turkey opened an Embassy in Wellington, with New Zealand opening an Embassy in Ankara a year later. There are Turkey-New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship groups in our respective parliaments.
Turkey established a Peace Park on the Gallipoli Peninsula to commemorate the 1915 campaign, and it is a symbol of national pride and unity. A memorial to the New Zealanders who fell at Gallipoli is situated at Chunuk Bair on the heights of the Peninsula, opposite a statue of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who as a commander of the Turkish forces played a crucial role at Gallipoli. A stone from the Chunuk Bair memorial forms the centrepiece of a new memorial in the renovated Wellington Cathedral to the Anzac troops who fell during the Gallipoli campaign. A memorial to Atatürk is sited at Tarakina Bay overlooking the entrance to Wellington harbour.