Hürriyet’s Hızlan receives presidential culture award

Hürriyet’s Hızlan receives presidential culture award

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet’s Hızlan receives presidential culture award

Doğan Hızlan (L), a prominent literary critic, writer and columnist for the daily Hürriyet, received his Presidential Grand Award in Art and Culture from President Abdullah Gül. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

President Abdullah Gül presented Doğan Hızlan, a prominent literary critic, writer and columnist for the daily Hürriyet, with the Presidential Grand Award in Art and Culture in a ceremony at Çankaya Palace yesterday.

“We may be at an award ceremony today, but you have already given the real prize to our nation with your work,” said Gül. “We give you these awards in recognition of the prize you have given us, to show our appreciation.”

“In order for nations and governments to safely continue down their paths, the guidance of artists and intellectuals is always necessary, because politicians can be affected by conjunctures, but artists and intellectuals always have common sense and consciousness in their actions,” Gül said in his speech at the ceremony. “Therefore, we must always highly treasure our artists and intellectuals.”

Other award recipients were Professor Semavi Eyice for art history, Hasan Çelebi for traditional arts and Sezai Karakoç for literature.

Hızlan, receiving an award for literary criticism, said in his speech that the feeling was foreign to him, “as I am the one who usually gives awards as a literary judge. On top of that, receiving the award from the president makes it even more significant to me.”

“Critics are usually treated as step-children,” Hızlan said. “When we give good praise, people like us. When we give a bad review, we are brushed aside. So by giving an award to a step-son, the government has adopted us. Criticism is important to ensure that valuable works of art reach a larger audience.”

Eyice told Turkey to look after its works of art in his thank-you speech. Istanbul especially, with its rich history, culture and architecture, is losing its unique texture to modern buildings, Eyice said.

Calligrapher Çelebi said in his speech the world recognized calligraphy as a Turkish art-form. He said the four living original calligraphy artists in Turkey had done much to contribute to the revival of the art, bringing it to it back to its peak.

“At the beginning of my journey there were only a few new artists in the field. Now, no matter where you go – Africa, Siberia, Japan, or America – it is possible to find someone enthusiastic about this art-form,” said Çelebi.

Gül praised Karakoç as a great poet and thinker, and a contributor to his own world view. Karakoç, known to be reclusive, did not attend the ceremony.

Attending the ceremony were deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Beşir Atalay, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Minister of Customs and Trade Hayati Yazıcı, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay, Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Defense İstmet Yılmaz, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Head Hüseyin Çelik and Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yüksel.