Erdoğan hands out cultural prizes, says winners have enhanced Turkey’s ‘destiny’
The Culture and Tourism Ministry’s 2017 Special Prizes were handed out by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a ceremony in Ankara, in which the president stressed the importance of “indigenous cultural and artistic production,” praising the award winners for contributing to “the region’s destiny.”
“Culture and art are as important as the economy and defense for nations. While economy and defense determine your power in the material world, culture and art determine your position within the intangible. Those two raises a country and a nation,” Erdoğan said in an award ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Feb. 22.
“We cannot neglect culture and art while working on Turkey’s 2023 targets,” he added.
Underlying the importance of historical heritage, Erdoğan said: “We should first look out for our own treasures.”
“We will explore all our treasures that we were forced to forget or which others tried to force us to forget just bytaking an inventory. Then we will push to produce new treasures to leave for the future as part of a great accumulation,” he said.
Referring to regrets concerning “underdevelopment” in the field of education and culture during the 15 years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, Erdoğan said the government was “committed to compensate for past deficiencies and losses.”
The Culture and Tourism Ministry annually awards prominent names in the fields of Turkish history, literature, language, plastic arts, architecture, archaeology, music and arts.
In 2017, Cüneyt Kosal scooped the music award, Safa Önal won in cinema, Prof. Dr. Nurhan Atasoy in art history, Prof. Dr. Süleyman Uludağ in history and BAKSI museum in culture and art.
“Sefa Önal, who has left his mark on Turkish cinema as a scenarist and director, surely deserves an award in this field. Cüneyt Kosal, who has made a very important contribution to our Turkish Music with his performance and research on qanun surely deserves an award. Nurhan Atasoy, who has been an example for the young generation with her knowledge of Ottoman Art History, surely deserves this award. Our teacher Süleyman Uludağ, who is a great writer with his quality works in wide range of fields besides history of Sufism, surely deserves the prize. And BAKSI Museum, whose efforts have brought our traditional and contemporary art to every corner of our country, surely deserves a prize,” Erdoğan said.