Greek MP opens exhibition on Turkey at European Parliament
Zeynep Bilgehan – BRUSSELS
Miltiadis Kyrkos, the vice-chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, opened an exhibition called “Faces of Turkey: Civil Society” at the European Parliament in Brussels on Jan. 8.
Kyrkos hopes the exhibition will change the ideas of EU lawmakers favoring an end to Turkey’s accession talks.
The exhibition comes amid a potential new tension that could erupt between Turkey and the EU as the European Parliament is set to vote on a report in the next couple of weeks prepared by the Turkey rapporteur of the parliament, Kati Piri, in which she recommends the freezing of Turkey’s accession process to the union.
“I want the MPs to reevaluate their decisions once more with this exhibition,” he told daily Hürriyet.
The exhibition has brought 11 NGOs together which have outstanding success stories and work on issues such as early diagnosis of autism, leukemia, women’s shelters, awareness-raising on HIV, and creating education opportunities for orphans.
The NGOs include, Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV), Association for the Support of Contemporary Living (ÇYDD), Darüşşafaka, Kırmızı Kurdele (Red Ribbon), Koruncuk Foundation, Foundation for Children with Leukemia (LÖSEV), Mor Çatı (Purple Roof), SosyalBen, Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV), Tohum Otizm – a foundation for children with autism – and Turkey Library for the Visually Impaired (TÜRGÖK).
Kyrkos said he wanted to tackle stereotypes and show Europeans that Turkey is a multifaceted country.
“My task has not been easy since the beginning and got harder as years passed. We have always tried to be constructive and understand each other. I have been thinking about opening an exhibition on Turkey for the last two years, but the latest political developments forced me to take action. My aim is to show that Turkey does not consist of only one face. Turkey is a country with a huge history. Its biggest wealth and power is its citizens. I just wanted to demonstrate the faces of Turkey that I met, loved and respected in the European Parliament,” he said.
“I am totally against an offer which would end Turkey’s membership. If the process ends, it’s not just Turkey itself that we’d abandon, but also the Turkish people. With this exhibition I show what we’ll vote to the end. I hope my colleagues will recognize the efforts of the NGOs and reevaluate their decision to break off the process,” he added.
“Faces of Turkey: Civil Society” exhibition is right at the entrance of the parliament, which Kyrikos said was symbolic.
“This is the best location in the parliament because it connects three separate buildings and is on everyone’s way. We can call it ‘the heart of the EU.’ Passersby will see the faces of real Turkish people, not just kebabs or the Bosphorus. They’ll witness the pains of a dynamic society and of their strategies to deal with these pains. Shelters for women in agony, schools for the orphans, books in Braille alphabet for the visually impaired. There is no propaganda or fake news, just real faces,” he said.
The exhibition is going to be displayed for a week.