İzmir fair opens its doors for the 86th time

İzmir fair opens its doors for the 86th time

The fair in the Aegean province of İzmir is being named among not only Turkey’s but one of the world’s oldest fairs. Although at one stage its impact and content were open to intense debates, I must say that I see a serious change in the last two years. This can be seen from the number of the participants and the interest from sponsors.

For example, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, one of the most important ministers of Russia, joined the opening last Friday. The interest of the government was also quite high.

Turkish Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu gave important messages. Turkish Parliament Deputy Speaker Mehmet Akif Hamzaçebi, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was among the participants. Even though the digital world offers us infinite opportunities enabling us to enter a website and do a virtual trip from our seats to any fair in the world, the impacts of these meetings will keep continuing. 

The organization of fairs is essential for Turkey. And I saw it once again last Friday that İzmir is the most suitable address for Turkey. The İzmir Fair became one of Europe’s most important fair grounds. I saw that the much-discussed İzmir İnternational Fair was renewed and refreshed when it opened its doors for the 86th time.

When there is no politics

We are exhausted. As a country that went through four elections and one referendum in the last one-and-a-half years, today nobody wants to talk about politics or listen to long speeches. I listened to the opening speeches at the İzmir Fair. I saw people leaving the conference hall more hopeful when not exposed to speeches involving politics. There are no polemics, discussions or any conversations that would stir tension. 

Important messages from two ministers

“Our goal is to make İzmir Turkey’s technology base. Let’s set the theme of the fair as ‘technology’ next year and let’s also give support as the ministry,” Özlü said. I am not sure what the managers of the fair will say but it looks like a very good idea to me. The minister openly declared his support by saying, “Let’s make İzmir our technology base,” and added, “Let’s intensify the investments in the infrastructure for this endeavor.” We thank Özlü for this proposal, because Turkey must grow, create new employments and especially take big steps in technology. Of course, Istanbul is the center for this subject but let’s not forget İzmir’s potential, labor and its familiarity with technology. Therefore, anyone investing in high technology in İzmir will see the change soon.

Messages from the mayor

The mayor of İzmir, Aziz Kocaoğlu, also delivered a promising speech. 

“You are in a city that has best understood and internalized [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk’s motto ‘peace at home, peace in the world.’ You are in İzmir, which has tolerance rooted in its soil; peace, friendship, freedom and democracy in its genes. You are in the city of smiling people,” he said. 

I thought those were the right words to describe İzmir.