The Federation of Pontian Associations wrote an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging him to use his influence to help halt the Turkish invasion of Syria.
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of all our members, we would like to thank you for taking the initiative and asking our Ambassador in Turkey to plead the case for a halt to the Turkish invasion in Syria.
Our Federation as well as its members and the Greek community have been working very closely with the Assyrian refugee community (many of whom were brought here under Tony Abbott’s “persecuted minorities” program). The horrors faced by the Assyrians as well as the Yazidis and now the Kurds have been traumatic and very destabilising.
With the escape of hundreds of ISIS/ISIL prisoners, we are pleading with the Australian government to put more to pressure on Turkey to stop its horrific campaign in Syria against the Kurds as well as other minority groups. Their increasing authoritarian regime as well as aggressive stance to all their neighbours has been appeased by members of the global community for far too long.
We have many friends in the Turkish community here in Australia. We therefore emphasise that our appeal is not an attack on the Turkish people but a matter of human rights and the rights of minority communities to lead a safe and peaceful life regardless of their ethnicity, religion and country of origin.
It is time that the Australian Government use its unique relationship with Turkey to be firm and honest and showcase that aggression has consequences. Our ancestors, be they Turkish, Greek or Australian, sacrificed their lives for us to live a better life. The actions in Syria are an affront to all humanity and to the values that these people laid their lives down for.
There is a time that leaders with strong moral convictions take a stance and that time has come for Australia. Winston Churchill once said “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
We hope that you stand with the persecuted minorities and use the full power of the prestigious office you hold to protect these people, and show the world that Australia does not reward or appease aggressive behaviour from any country, and more so by if said country is a friend. Our friends are a reflection of who we are and hence we must hold them a higher standard.
We have faith that you and the Government will do the right thing.
Good Health and God Bless
Peter Stefanidis, President of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia
Nikolaos Makridis, Secretary of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia