Australia and Turkey on the playing field of peace

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced a new annual event to emphasise the strong links between Australia and Turkey.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced a new annual event to emphasise the strong links between Australia and Turkey.

The annual event will see football matches played between the two countries in either Turkey or Australia in alternating years starting with two Men's Under 16 matches to be held next month in Canakkale and Gelibolu (Gallipoli), Turkey, on 24 and 26 April.

"We are delighted to announce this initiative," said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

"Australia and Turkey have built a relationship of peace and friendship based on a shared history.

"This annual football event will help develop that relationship further," Buckley said.

"Importantly, as individuals, one of the things we enjoy in common is football and we want to use this opportunity to forge the friendship between our nations at all levels."

Buckley said that the date of the annual football event was selected to coincide with ANZAC Day (25 April) for Australia and National Sovereignty and Children's Day (23 April) for Turkey.

The annual football event has the strong support of both the Australian and Turkish governments with Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, and Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, expected to attend one of the matches.

Speaking alongside Buckley, the Consul-General of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Renan Sekeroglu said the Turkish Government and the Turkish Football Federation were also proud to announce the annual event.

"We also look forward to being inaugural hosts of the event with the two matches on 24 and 26 April," Mr Sekeroglu said.

“I am sure that those two matches will be encountered with a great enthusiasm by the two nations and pave the way for the further enhancement of the strong interaction and mutual affection between our two peoples,” Mr Sekeroglu said.

Buckley added that the teams to participate in the annual event will be agreed to coincide with the programs of both country's international teams.

Australian visitors to Gallipoli in 2009 wanting to support the Australian team can do so on:

24 April: Canakkale Stadium, Ataturk Cad, Canakkale. Kick-off 2.00pm local. 26 April: Gelibolu Stadium, Gelibolu. Kick-off 2.00pm local.

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