Istanbul formally becomes youth capital of Turkic world
Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu announced Thursday that Istanbul formally received the title of “Youth Capital of the Turkic World 2023” at the opening ceremony held at Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) in the Turkish capital Ankara.
In a speech in front of a huge crowd during the ceremony that started with a mehter team show and folk dances, Kasapoğlu noted that the mutual support among Turkic countries was more visible following the Feb. 6 disaster.
“On behalf of our nation and people, I would like to express my gratitude to all our brotherly countries, who extended their friendly hand to help our people and made us feel and witness the mobilization,” he said.
Noting that he sincerely believes that Istanbul would carry its title with justified pride, Kasapoğlu noted that he looks forward to meeting youth under the umbrella of the organization through events that will last throughout the year.
The Organization of Turkic States (OTS), then known as the Turkic Council, was established in October 2009 after Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed the Nakhchivan Agreement. Uzbekistan finalized its accession to the organization during the seventh summit of the Turkic Council on Oct. 15, 2019, in Baku. Hungary, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are observer states.
“Our cooperation with the Turkic world’s umbrella organization, the Organization of Turkic States, is getting stronger day by day in many areas. As partners of the same cultural heritage, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, we embrace Istanbul, the crown jewel of our civilization. I believe that the unity, and honor of the Turkic world will rise on your shoulders,” Kasapoğlu said.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, who also took the stage at the ceremony, noted that Istanbul has a rich history spanning thousands of years as it is a city that connects continents and has served as the capital of three empires.
“We are united with our youth, who are the sprouts of the great plane tree, in Istanbul, the Youth Capital of the Turkic World. Even though we are in different geographies, our hearts are always one, our joys and worries are always the same,” Yerlikaya said.
“You brothers were among the first to rush to heal our wounds. You have displayed the best examples of solidarity and unity,” he added.
Apart from Kasapoğlu and Yerlikaya, TRNC Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Ataoğlu; OTS Secretary-General Kubanychbek Omuraliev; Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan Indira Hajiyeva; Deputy Minister of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy of Kyrgyzstan Marat Tagaev; Deputy Consul General of Hungary Veronika Lakatos; officials from the Turkmenistan Consulate; Turkic states’ organization members; representatives of observer countries and volunteers also attended the ceremony.