Gaziantep had dreams!
Terror targeted southern Gaziantep this time, leaving more than 50 people dead, most of them children.
According to initial information, the suicide bomber who exploded himself during the marriage festivities was a child aged between 12 and 14.
I have a strong bond with Gaziantep, which has shared a common fate with several cities that were victims of terror attacks, like Istanbul, Nice, Ankara, Paris and Suruç.
As I made frequent visits to Gaziantep since the first half of the 2000s, not only have I built a good friendship network but I have also witnessed firsthand how it turned into a brand name.
There are several reasons why. Situated on the historic Silk Road, Gaziantep, which has always had a vivid trade life, is the most developed city in the region.
Educational mobilization had started in the city by the end of 19th century, so much so that the elites of the city have not refrained from sending their children to far away countries so that they get better education.
I can’t remember from how many people I have heard the fact that once upon a time you could hear pianos playing in all of the houses.
This is a city where several civilizations were nurtured. It is not for nothing that Gaziantep has become a center for gastronomy.
In fact, with 400 different courses, Gaziantep was accepted last February into UNESCO’s world creative cities network.
It is not a coincidence that the city hosts Turkey’s first culinary museum.
Elif Çoban, the CEO of Şölen chocolate, a brand name of Gaziantep, has always said how this city inspired her.
Çoban, who has acquired a special place in the world with her design brand “Gaia & Gino,” is next to names like Zeynep Göğüş among many people who have had faith in the city and worked for it to become a global brand.
What would you say if I were to tell you that David Packard, the second generation of Hewlett- Packard’s owners, became a close follower of the city in the 2000s due to the incredible mosaics found in the Zeugma excavations?
He donated $5 million at that time for the excavations.
He had also proposed to earmark a budget of $100 million for a period of 10 years for the restoration of mosaics and the construction of a museum.
Yet as a protocol with the Culture Ministry was not able to be signed, this commitment was not put into force.
Another name who has a special bond with Gaziantep is Prof. Hicolo Marchetti from Bologna University’s Archeology Department.
Prof. Marchetti continues excavation works in Karkamış, dating back more than 5,000 years, in the vicinity of Gaziantep.
He has made significant discoveries. The project, which also includes archaeologists from Gaziantep and Istanbul universities, is doing the most extensive excavations at Karkamış in nearly a century, building on the work of British Museum teams that included T.E. Lawrence, the adventurer known as Lawrence of Arabia.
How many people would know that Lawrence of Arabia was one of the members of the British archeological team that worked in Karkamış between 1911 and 1914?
With its export potential, tourism expectations and attributes like gastronomy that opened the city’s doors to the world, Gaziantep had big dreams for its future.
Just like Diyarbakır, Mardin, Aleppo…