As I embark on my journey to Turkey to join this year's Gallipoli commemorations, these magnanimous words of reconciliation, written by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1934, came to my mind. "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 to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours..." It is in the spirit of those very words, that every year, all the nations that were involved in the Gallipoli campaign come together to commemorate those very heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. The key difference from the time of the campaign and today is that all the nations, including Turkey, come together in a spirit of true friendship.
As the son of a Royal Air Force Officer who just saw the end of World War II, and as the grandson of an army corporal from Scotland who fought in World War I, I have a deep respect and admiration for those who have lived and died for their country. Whereas my grandfather then could have found himself standing looking at a Turkish soldier as an enemy, I will be here as a British minister and as a friend of Turkey.
As someone who is a frequent visitor to Turkey, especially over the past two years, I can certainly attest to that feeling of friendship. My very first official visit to Turkey, shortly after being appointed as minister for Europe and the Americas and within days of the terrible attempted coup in July 2016, was made with the intention to demonstrate our friendship and strong alliance with Turkey and its people.
I am therefore honored to be returning to Turkey again and to be representing the former Entente Powers at this year's Gallipoli commemorations, to remember the service, sacrifice and suffering of those on both sides of the seismic military encounter that took place over a century ago.
It is a fitting legacy of what happened at Çanakkale that, despite such ferocious battles, the historic bitter enmity that used to exist has so widely been replaced by binding friendships and steadfast alliances. It is also a remarkable testament to the value of reconciliation that a century after Turkey and Great Britain were on opposite sides, we now stand shoulder to shoulder as NATO allies and trusted friends.
Sadly today's world is not without conflict. The daily atrocities being conducted in Syria against innocent civilians, strengthens our resolve to not only honor those who fought in the past, but to continue to strive for a better, safer world for us all.
After the hideous experience of gas in the trenches a century ago all nations resolved to rid the world of chemical weapons. Once again we must all renew and uphold that wisdom and not let such atrocities become an acceptable practice. We must maintain a common voice for adherence to the international rule of law, and to treaties and binding conventions.
Together, we all must honor those who fought in the past, and we must strive together for a better world in which there is less need to fight in the future. Once again Atatürk fittingly captured this vision of a better world in which he called on all people to aim for "peace at home, and peace in the world."
* United Kingdom Minister of State for Europe