Sayın Büyükelçimizin "touring Turkey" Başlıklı Fotoğraf Sergisinin Açılışında Yaptığı Konuşma

Oslo Büyükelçiliği 06.05.2019

Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

Dear Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to this exhibition of photographs by Halil Tuncer.

Mr. Tuncer is celebrated as the doyen of tourism photography in Turkey. For more than fifty years his works toured four continents and were exhibited in nineteen countries. He of course traveled extensively throughout Turkey taking pictures of historical and natural sites.

He opened exhibitions in various countries such as Sweden, Egypt, Denmark, USA, Cuba and Tanzania. His worldwide known work “Mount Nemrud” was awarded second prize at an international photo competition in Denmark 1982. As a dedicated photographer, he will always remain as a master among Turkish professionals.

We are honored to host him here in Norway. The exhibition will also be open for all to see tomorrow.

I also would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Oslo Turkish Women’s Group for taking the initiative of this exhibition and Turkish Airlines for its contribution to the event.

Photography and tourism go well together. In the old days, tourism promotion meant good photographs of the attractive destinations printed on brochures to be distributed. The visual attraction of a place has been the most important trigger of our desire to travel.Though, we may have “almost passed” the age of printed tourism brochures, photography still has a key role in our travels. Not only those images we are continuously presented in the media sources surrounding us, but also those snapshots we take during our journeys are parts of our modern lives. Who can think of travelling without the ability of taking photos, with smart phones at least, or even better, with a proper camera if we are brave enough to carry one? Taking a snapshot of a place is like owning part of it, bringing back home a piece of that wonderful experience with you. Therefore, we can, or we should thank Halil Tuncer for “capturing pieces” from and bringing us here to enjoy some of the charming places in Turkey.We have images from many tourism destinations of Turkey, most of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like Istanbul, Cappadocia, Mount Nemrud, Ephesus and others but, there is a significant place among these photographs that I would like to bring to your attention, which is Göbeklitepe.

Located in South East of Turkey, near Urfa province, Göbeklitepe (Potbelly Hill) is generally accepted as the most significant archaeological discovery of the 21st century. First of all, it dates back to12 thousand years ago. In other words, it's thousands of years older than anything we knew of monumental human-creations. Furthermore, it is even older than the human transition to settled life. Therefore, contrary to the widely held view before Göbeklitepe discovery, it proved existence of religious beliefs and ritual grounds prior to the establishment of the first cities.

Findings of researchers at Göbeklitepe shows that a religious class existed even at such early ages, division of society into social classes took place well before the widely assumed dates and perhaps the first agricultural activity may have been conducted in the region. As a result, all this new information has been added to the collective knowledge of the humanity and into the history books. On the merits of its contribution to the human history, Göbeklitepe was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
in 2018, making it 17th site in the list. Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared 2019 as "The Year of Gobeklitepe".

Taking this opportunity, let me say a few words about tourism in Turkey. Turkey is one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, with stunning scenery and rich historical heritage. More than 40 million tourists visited Turkey last year. In addition to its beautiful coastline and spectacular cultural sites, Turkey has also become a popular destination for spa and health care focused tourism.

Norway has its own incredible share of natural beauty and other attractions for travelers, but being long time travelers themselves, Norwegians are fond of travelling everywhere, and of course discovered Turkey centuries ago.

We are very happy that tourism is an important aspect in our current relations, having more and more Norwegians visiting or some even living in Turkey, part-time or full time. In recent years, this number reached almost 400 thousand and Turkey has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for Norwegians. It is our aim to increase the number of visitors to Turkey from all around the world, and Turkish Airlines is doing a great job in promoting travels to Turkey or through Turkey. Now that it is among the top airlines with highest number of destinations, Turkish Airlines is ready to grow even more with the huge new hub in its center of gravity, new Istanbul Airport.

To conclude, I would like to thank again our artist, photographer Mr. Halil Tuncer and THY, the main sponsor of this event, as well as other supporters like Oslo Turkish Women Association, especially Mrs. Berna Follegg, Yalçın Uçarlı for printing help, Monika and Ahmet for providing flowers, Einar Kunsfags School of art for the stands. They all deserve our heartfelt thanks for helping this occasion to be realized.Again, thank you all for attending this opening reception, please enjoy.


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