Turkish business, art and sport representatives launch solidarity campaign against terror
ISTANBULLeading business, art and sport representatives from Turkey have launched a civil society movement against recent terror attacks in a bid to boost the public’s morale and maintain Turkey and Istanbul’s brand value, calling on people to continue living their lives outside.
Initiated under the leadership of the United Brands Association (BMD), Chain Stores Association (KMD), Tourism, Restaurant Investors and Operators Association (TURYİD) and Whole Restaurants and Restaurants and Suppliers Association (TÜRES), the movement aims to support the Turkish public in surviving by boosting their morale and maintaining the brand value of Istanbul.
The details of the civil society movement, “Hold on to Your Life,” were announced at a press conference on Jan. 12 with the participation of BMD Chair Sinan Öncel, KMD Chair Alp Önder Özpamukçu, TURYİD Chair Kaya Demirer and TÜRES Chair Ramazan Bingöl.
Along with members of the associations organizing the campaign, celebrities and respected delegates from the world of business, sport and social life attended the meeting, according to a press release. A number of leading celebrities, including TV star Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, Turkish national football team coach Fatih Terim, iconic movie star Hülya Koçyiğit, famous talk show presenter Saba Tümer, Turkish artist and lifestyle writer Ayhan Sicimoğlu, daily Hürriyet lifestyle writer Mehmet Yaşin, and cinema and theater star Demet Akbağ also supported the campaign through photos and videos showing them walking on the street, eating in restaurants, fishing, going to the cinema and strolling through the park. The images were shared in the meeting with the hashtag “holdontoyourlife.”
‘We need to hold on to life for our future’
“We need to hold on to life for our children and our future while mourning our losses. As four very important civil society institutions in Turkey, we call on all civil society establishments: Let’s protect our country, our economy, our life and our future. Let our machines run faster and may our restaurants and stores always be open. Let the streets, cinemas, theaters and places of entertainment continue to live by the rhythm of life,” said Öncel.
Özpamukçu said the whole nation would succeed in vanquishing efforts to create fear by uniting the nation.
“We strongly believe that our wounds will be healed, that we will look forward with hope and promise and that peace will come to us again. Our nation has the power and capacity to do this. As the valuable players of the retail sector moving according to the pulse of our people, it would be our greatest response to show that we will stand up for our future and hold on to life by continuing to live each day to the full. We must continue to do our shopping, enjoy our beautiful environment, go to the cinema, eat out in our favorite restaurants, have fun, travel and protect our future life experiences to the end,” he added.
Demirer said they started the nationwide civil society movement in order to revive Istanbul streets which fell quiet after a jihadist attack in the early hours of the new year.
“The alarm bells should start to ring when we are afraid to go out. We came together after the tragic event at Reina as sector members in central Istanbul. We invite all of our citizens to hold on to their lives by turning this togetherness into a civil society movement...We say ‘go out, go shopping, go eating, and go for a walk, travel. Just go out.’ We must protect our streets in our own country so that we can say loudly ‘come and support this national mobilization of Turkey; visit Turkey and join with us if you want to fight against terrorism.’ We must broadcast this to the 30 million tourists visiting our country every year,” Demirer said.
Bingöl said the attacks were aimed at creating a negative impact on the tourism sector and that the country should be portraying a positive image.
“Instead of locking ourselves into our houses, we must continue with our normal life without changing any part of it, close down their plan of division and hatred and increase friendships. Let us stand up against the attacks together. We invite the people from different countries to come so that they experience the wonderful tastes of Turkish cuisine, which is one of the best world cuisines. We are collaborating in order to increase our share in the world’s gastronomic tourism as the sector. Therefore, we say ‘hold on to your life’ to our people,” he added.