14 Apr

Gestures of compassion and goodwill are never forgotten.

Where government and the industry fails, community groups rise up to save the image of Australia’s multi-billion dollar international education sector.


Gestures of compassion and goodwill are never forgotten.

Like the cross-trench aid exchange between the Turk and the ANZAC during the direst of all conditions in Gallipoli. Similarly we remember Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s letter to ANZAC mothers. His words are inscribed not only on monuments across Australia but also in our national psyche. Small gestures of goodwill towards the enemy dating back 100 years continue to bond the people of two countries 15,000 kilometres apart to this day. 

People also tend to hold on to their disappointments. More than half a million international students who cannot return home and their families abroad feel nothing but disappointment after being left out of the government’s generous safety net packages. 

They are also vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of unprofessional industry related service providers, landlords and employers.

Australia’s world class education institutions are being promoted heavily across the world, including Turkey, focusing on our lifestyle and welcoming nature of Australians. However the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has proven some of these claims wrong and have left students feeling left behind. 

Shonky education institutions that are solely profit oriented sent letters to students threatening to report them to immigration if they fail to pay their fees. At a time when many students have lost their 40 hour per fortnight low paying jobs, mainly in the hospitality industry, and while Australian businesses are eligible for generous government support, these acts sound extremely greedy and unfair. 

We are flooded with messages from Turkish students who fear not only for their current visa situation but also the negative impact this will have on their future travel record. Student agencies with questionable professionalism give confusing information to their customers and doggy service providers, such as shared accommodation companies, threaten to evict students who share over-crowded units in Sydney and Melbourne. Most of these students are vulnerable, as they neither know their rights in full nor have enough language skills to make complaints and defend their rights.

Furthermore the education provided is no longer in the classroom, hence is of lower value. Decent education institutions should make more effort to defer or freeze school payments, offer installments and make significant fee reductions for international students. After all, these students didn’t have to travel thousands of kilometres and live in one of the world’s most expensive cities to get their education online.  

Every day we see numerous acts of generosity in Australia, and that generosity can easily be extended to the young people who chose to come here from all over the world to thrive in their education. Where the industry and government fail together in looking after the international students, community groups rise up to the challenge. 

We, the Australian-Turkish community provide free meals, job opportunities and free accommodation to many of these students. We also raise funds to assist them in paying their school fees when they are unable to do so.  

As Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States of America says, “pandemics don’t make your character; they reveal your character.” This pandemic will also reveal whether Australia sees hundreds of thousands of students who pump billions of dollars in to its economy every year as guests or just as a source of disposable and replaceable income. The choice will identify the perception of Australia’s multi-billion dollar international education industry for decades to come. 

We call on all levels of governments in Australia to show a gesture of goodwill during these hard times to these vulnerable people as much as they show it to all Australians and businesses. 

Once this situation is over a serious review of the industry providers and their competency is also required. 

21 Dec

Operation Esslemont

$1 million reward for information into 1980 assassination of Turkish diplomats.

The NSW Police Force has announced a $1 million reward for information into the assassination of a Turkish diplomat and his bodyguard in Sydney’s east nearly four decades ago.

Turkish Consul-General Sarik Ariyak, aged 50, and his bodyguard, Engin Sever, aged 28, were shot outside a residence on Portland Street, Dover Heights, about 9.45am on Wednesday 17 December 1980.

Mr Ariyak and Mr Sever were leaving the residence in separate vehicles, when they were approached by two unknown men, who fired multiple shots at close range before fleeing the area on a motorcycle.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, Mr Ariyak died at the scene, and Mr Sever died a short time later at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Shortly after the attack, responsibility was claimed by the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, but despite extensive investigations by police, no one has ever been charged.

The $1 million reward can be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the men’s murders.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Esslemont investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Watch the 17 December 2019 ceremony and speeches.

04 Dec


Ahead of the 39th Anniversary of the terrorist attack against Turkish Consul General Sarik Ariyak and his bodyguard Engin Sever, we wanted to publish the following Editorial by The Canberra Times dated December 18, 1980.

The full article can be found on

Dictionary definition of the word terrorism

The Canberra Times

Thursday, December 18, 1980


The gunning-down in Sydney yesterday of the Turkish Consul-General, Mr Sarik Ariyak, and his bodyguard was a dastardly act, apparently the work of political terrorists. Responsibility for the assassination has been claimed by ,a terrorist body – the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Gcnocide. Armenian guerillas going under various names have claimed about a dozen Turkish victims, including ambassadors in France and the Vatican and senior diplomats in Greece and Austria, and their families. In October this year they exploded bombs in New York and Los Angeles which injured six people. The message phoned to a newsagency yesterday from the apparent terrorists said the killings fell within the bounds of the revolutionary movement which began in the early 1970s with acts in Vienna, Rome, Madrid, Paris and the Vatican. It was in retaliation “for the injustices done to the Armenians by the Turks in 1915”. This message added that the attacks were aimed at Turkish diplomats and .institutions, and threatened, “We will strike again”.

It is not the first time such a violent criminal act has been perpetrated against foreign representatives on Australian soil. But the fact that this event could occur in broad daylight in a suburban street must bring home to ordinary citizens the fact that terrorism is no longer something which happens somewhere else. The full impact of international terrorism became manifest in Australia with the bombing of the Hilton hotel in Sydney during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting in February 1978. In 1977 there had been the kidnapping of the Indian military attache and his wife at knifepoint in Canberra by a member of the Ananda Marga movement who is now serving a nine-year jail sentence for the crime. More recently there was the unexplained bombing of the Iwasaki tourist resort at Yeppoon in Queensland. The perpetrators have not yet been brought to book.

What these events have in common are the transport of simmering hatreds, often to areas remote from the origin of these hatreds, and the willingness to extract murderous vengeance for wrongs, real or imaginary. Yesterday it was a senior foreign diplomat and a member of his staff killed by those apparently seeking vengeance for historic wrongs.

This is not the place to canvass the rights and wrongs of that time, when the Turks also claimed that as many of their people were massacred by Armenians. It was all in the period of World War 1 and should have been buried with the other millions of dead from all sides in that conflagration.

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