Ankara - “To cancel a journey in Turkey would mean letting terrorism win over all of us”: Irfan Onal, head of the promotion of theTurkish ministry of Culture, has no doubt about this and this is the first point he wants to underline in an interview with AGI a few days after the attack at Istambul airport. Onal assures that his country wants to turn the page, leaving behind the terroristic threat and welcoming tourists from all around the world to show them its beauty, history and culture.
“The guest is sacred in Turkey", says Onal, "hospitality is the first thing for us, at the same time history and cultures of this country are eternal, our people always wish to make feel at home whoever comes from abroad”.“ I always say ‘Turkey is a small continent’, with a very various geography and a multiplicity of landscapes. It’s a land in which many civilizations settled and developed, whose heritage can now be seen in the Anatolian region”.
The threat of terrorism should not scare foreigners who love sea, archeology, mountains and good food, all features of this country. “Unfortunately the terrorism alert is a common concern of the entire humanity, who’s facing the plague of terroristic attacks", says Onal.
“On one side Turkey is actively cooperating on the field with countries involved in this fight. On the other side my country unfortunately paid off in the last months the proximity with Syria and its geopolitical position in the region. Although this, I can guarantee that all of the necessary security measures has been taken already. People responsible for this terrible acts are already been detained and the networks this organization has in Turkey will be eliminated very soon. The entire country, from institutions to the people reacted, because our primary goal is to make this country a safe place”.
Onal seizes the chance to thank the international community that showed its solidarity to Turkey and reassures AGI that his country will not give up to terrorism. “We wish that everybody will do the same. Few foreign fighters can not win over an entire country, a country that immediately reacted”. Onal is sure that nullify the terroristic threat is the main priority of the Turkish government lead by the Prime Minister BinaliYildirim, and that this threat will be eradicated quickly as demonstrates by the “more than 40 people detained in 48 hours, the signal that wants to close this chapter”. At the same time the Prime Minister knows that to reconcile the country, the southeast area must be stabilized.For this purpose, He recently announced the reconstruction and the relaunch of the economy in the south east of Turkey, an area in which Onal affirms “tourism will play an important role to raise the economy ofpart of Mesopotamia: an area with cultural, historical and social unique features. In the last 3 years, thanks to Ministry of Culture’s investment plan, we open 2 different museums. The first one I would like to mention is the “Edessa Archeological Museum” in Urfa, that shows finds of the GobekliTepe excavation, the oldest temple in the world. The second one is the “Zeugma museum” in Gaziantep, a city where visitors can also appreciate the culinary tradition. I could mention also cities like Adiyaman, Diyarbakik, Hatay, where I’m sure every traveler can get unforgettable memories. The government is aware of the potential of the region and will take the most suitable measures for the development of the region.
Among the opportunities to revamp the country there’s the Expo 2016 that for six months will be held in Antalya, a city by a stunning seaside, far from any kind of tension. “We are talking about one of the main destinations in Europe that yearly attracts 12 million tourists, and that since 2011 is working on the preparation ofthis Expo. An Expo on botany involves the organization of green areas and spaces where peculiarities and beauties from allover the world can be properly displayed. The target of our investment is to leave to the inhabitants an even nicer city and to the tourists one more reason to visit the city”.
And then there is Istanbul. “Capital town of three different empires, a city that already turned page after the last attack, in which events likeTheater and Shopping Festivals will not be cancelled - Onal clarifies -. Despite has been hit as already unfortunately happened to Paris, Bruxelles and in the past to London and Madrid. This can not imply to renounce to travel; because renounce to visit Istanbul means to deny to ourselves an unforgettable experience, a chance to appreciate the heritage of the History and at the same timethe modern side of a modern metropolis, where art galleriesand festival are chances to live the present and the future of a stunning city, the Eastern Rome”.
Turkey will be part with a pavilion to the Biennaledi Venezia also this year. “Turkey and Venice - Onal highlights - share the same maritime culture, the dockyard culture, in which is more simply, the Mediterranean culture. Our exposition will pay homage to this sharing, adding a new step to our common tradition and relationship between our two side of the Mediterranean Sea. I am sure it will be a successful exposition”.
If Mr. Onal would have Italian guests for dinner, what would he make taste them?
“As I told you Turkey is a small continent more than a single state, so it is normal to have a wide range of choices in every single region. However for a successful approach for my guest I would chose the Gaziantep culinary tradition, recently included in the Unesco’s list. A lot of different foods and amazing tastes, I am sure Italians would be absolutely satisfied”. (AGI)