January 27th marks the day on which the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camps, established in the territory of Poland by the Nazi regime and where the highest number of people were massacred, were liberated. Today was designated as “The International Holocaust Remembrance Day” by a Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005. This meaningful day is commemorated with various ceremonies and activities every year all over the world.
This year, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of this special day, we once again respectfully commemorate millions of innocent people who lost their lives, primarily the Jews, and convey our condolences to their relatives.
We hope that every person develops an understanding of the Holocaust, which constitutes one of the darkest times of human history, and will consider the importance of working together so that such a tragedy, and the conditions that made this inconceivable crime possible, will never reemerge. However, we observe that anti-Semitism, which formed a basis for the inhuman Nazi ideology, still survives today and therefore we believe in the importance of fighting tirelessly against this phenomenon.
Accordingly, Turkey has been participating in the activities of the "International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance"(IHRA) as an observer country since 2008. In this capacity, we carry out a number of activities aimed at raising the awareness of our citizens about the Holocaust and we reinforce our efforts in this direction with a variety of educational activities.
Turkey exerted immense efforts to avoid entering into the war, stood up against the monstrous oppression implemented by the Nazi regime, and opened its doors in the 1930’s to hundreds of scientists and artists fleeing from Germany and Austria when the Nazi regime started to subject the Jews to discriminatory policies in these countries. We will always remember with gratitude these people, who rendered remarkable contributions to the academic life of Turkey.
Turkey tried to help innocent people as much as possible during the years of World War II when the Holocaust was cruelly put into practice. Turkish diplomats serving in some European countries at that time managed to save a considerable number of people from being taken to the concentration and death camps by displaying great examples of courage.
Turkey, which maintains that international relations need to be conducted on a more humanitarian basis and always adopts a principled attitude on humanitarian issues, clearly enunciates its sensitivity in all humanitarian matters, including the Holocaust, on every occasion.
In this regard, Foreign Minister H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will represent Turkey in the commemoration ceremony to be held today in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camps. The delegation accompanying Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu will include representatives of the Turkish Jewish Community as well.
Likewise, H.E. Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey attended the Holocaust commemoration activities held by the Parliament of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the European Parliament in Prague on 26-27 January 2015 and delivered a speech to the international forum organized in this scope.
Furthermore, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, which has been observed in Turkey for the last four years with various activities under the organization of Turkish Jewish Community will be held this year in Ankara, at Bilkent University, with the participation of the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, on the occasion of its 70th anniversary.
We wish that all these activities will provide ample opportunities to enhance the awareness against the Holocaust and other human tragedies, and such atrocities will never reoccur in the future.