Honouring Fallen Diplomats

September 20, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, joined by his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, today inaugurated a memorial to fallen diplomats. Located along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway in Ottawa, it honours all diplomats and public servants who paid the ultimate price in serving their countries abroad.

The monument pays particular tribute to the memory of Colonel Atilla Altikat, former military attaché of the Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa, who was assassinated by terrorists on August 27, 1982, on the very spot the monument now occupies.

The monument is dedicated to Col. Altikat, and to all diplomats and public servants around the world who lost their lives in the service of their country. 

“Sadly, both Turkey and Canada have lost talented and distinguished diplomats through senseless acts of violence directed at our countries,” said Baird. “Recent events prove, tragically, that the dangers facing diplomats and public servants in foreign postings are still an unfortunate reality.”

Baird added: “Diplomats and their families proudly represent their countries around the world, and today’s unveiling expresses our gratitude for their sacrifice.”

A gift from the people of Turkey to Canada, the monument was designed and built by a Turkish team led by sculptor Azimet Karaman, architect Levent Timurhan, architect-sculptor Reha Benderlioğlu and sculptor Necmettin Yağci.

Constructed of metal and wood, the monument takes the form of a cone and symbolizes the eternal resting place of the fallen. Its large open face points upward toward the “gateway of eternity,” while the winnowed base points downward into the “gateway of time.” A series of metal prisms lining the monument represent the fallen; a single prism located at the base pays special tribute to Col. Altikat.

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