Tom Koutsantonis the SA Labor Minister for Minister for Energy and Mining has tabled two motions in the South Australian parliament which see to recognise two important days for the Hellenic people.
The first motion tabled by the Member for West Torrens calls for the recognition of October 28 as Oxi Day (No Day) the anniversary of the day in 1940, when the Greek prime minister of the day rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum. The second motion calls for the recognition of the centenary since the destruction of Smyrna and by Turkish forces. The second motion will now doubt bring the ire of many Turkish leaders in Australia.
Mr Koutsantonis has called for the recognition of “the 28th of October is Oxi Day – the anniversary of the day the Greek prime minister rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum in 1940 and expressed that it would not surrender to Axis powers.”
His motion also talks of the shared history of “the Greek and Cypriot nations and remembers that Australians stood shoulder to shoulder with Greek and other Allied forces in both the Battle of Greece and the Battle of Crete.”
Mr Koutsantonis motion welcomes “the visiting contingent of Hellenic Presidential Guard to Adelaide in October to commemorate Oxi Day and welcomes Mr Nikolaos Chardalias, Deputy Minister of National Defence for the Hellenic Republic, to lead this contingent.”
He endorses the “unveiling of the latest new monument to Australian Hellenic military cooperation in World War II.”
And he calls on South Australians to “celebrate’ their nations’ history “by participating in community events associated with the visit of the Hellenic Presidential Guard.”
In the second motion the Minister calls on the parliament to recognise “that September marks the 100 year anniversary of fires that burned for nine days – between the 13th and the 22nd of September 1922 – destroying the Greek city of Smyrna in Asia Minor – now renamed Izmir, in modern Turkey.”
Mr Koutsanotonis second motion says “that tens of thousands of innocent lives that were lost as result of this fire which began four days after the Turkish military captured the city.
September 22 was when the Turkish forces burned Smyrna and began the systematic explosion of Indigenous Hellenes and Armenians from Asia Minor, now Turkey.
Mr Koutsantonis’ motions call on the Turkish government to recognise its former military’s: deliberate burning of the city; and systematic genocide and ethnic cleansing of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna.