Turkish tribute for VU

Sunshine Campus is proud to display a plaque to commemorate the ANZAC centenary donated by a leader of the Footscray Turkish community.

Community association manager Mehmet Balikel selected 100 sites including RSL clubs and schools to receive the framed message.

It immortalises words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a Turkish army officer who went on to become the first president of Turkey.

Trades Training Director Peter Jacobson accepted the plaque on behalf of Victoria University earlier this month.

The plaque contains a tribute Atatürk wrote in 1934 to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli, which begins:

“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.”

Mehmet's mission to hand-deliver the words from modern Turkey’s founding father began in 2013 at the Footscray RSL.

He will complete the project later this month with visits to Geelong and Ballarat.

Mehmet is a long-time Footscray identity who introduced Turkish food to Footscray decades ago through his former eatery, Sofras, a favourite of many staff at VU (then Footscray Institute of Technology).  

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