The Turkish parliament speaker on Tuesday congratulated Australia on its national day.

In a letter to Australian Senate President Slade Brockman and House of Representatives Speaker Andrew Wallace, Mustafa Sentop said Turkiye places great importance on relations between the two countries.

“I hope that our relations based on friendship and cooperation between our countries will be strengthened with inter-parliamentary visits and contacts in the near future, and I hope that the 7th MIKTA Parliamentary Speakers Meeting, which we will host online in February, will be successful,” Sentop said, referring to the Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkiye and Australia group.

He also wished health, peace, and happiness to the people of Australia.

Every Jan. 26, the nation celebrates Australia Day, the day their country was founded as a British colony in 1788.

On that date, the first governor of New South Wales arrived at Sydney Cove and raised the Union Jack flag.

Turkiye and Australia have a special bond rooted in the Canakkale (Gallipoli) campaign of World War I, during which thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and died on Ottoman soil, as did Turkish troops on the opposing side.

In 1934, a message by Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk sent to Australian and New Zealander mothers said: “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

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