A Joyful EU Festival in the heart of Aydın with the Participation of the EU Delegation
Ambassador Berger participated in the "EU Projects Exhibition" in Aydın which turned into a joyful EU festival at city's main square with the support of the Aydın Governorate
Aydın province hosted a remarkable "EU Projects Exhibition" in the heart of the city on 19 June 2018, with the participation of the Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Christian Berger and the Governor of Aydın, Yavuz Selim Koşger. The event was celebrated in the spirit of an "EU Festival symbolizing local ownership of Turkey's EU accession process" with great interest and participation of dozens of beneficiaries, including local authorities, schools, teachers, university and primary school students as well as local people in Aydın.
Ambassador Berger visited the western province of Aydın between 17-19 June, held a series of meetings with the local authorities and met with representatives of the local communities. As part of the programme, Ambassador Berger participated in the official opening of the "EU Projects Exhibition" in the main city square on 19 June 2018 together with Governor of Aydın, Yavuz Selim Kosger. Ambassador Berger was warmly welcomed by a large number of beneficiaries at the exhibition, including 20 schools, 12 civil society organisations, 4 municipalities, 7 public institutions. In total, 43 organisations exhibited 78 EU-funded projects (48 Erasmus+ projects, 14 grant projects from IPA I and 14 projects by Development Agencies) implemented in Aydın and its districts.
Ambassador Berger said that this was "a remarkable event demonstrating the significance of local ownership of the EU-Turkey relations by the local authorities and the people of Aydın" and thanked the governorate and all local participants, including district governors, Kuşadası Municipality and the EU related bodies for their great enthusiasm and willingness to create synergy for further development of relations between the EU and Turkey.
At the meeting held with Aydın Governorate's EU and Foreign Affairs Department to seek ways to deepen cooperation, Amb. Berger said the EU was supporting nearly 500 projects across the city, together with its Turkish partners. Emphasizing the positive impact of the meeting, Ambassador Berger noted that the Coordination Meeting had been very useful for joint planning of future projects in Aydın."
During the meeting, Aydın Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger stated that the EU made remarkable progress by ensuring unity in diversity. "We have nowhere to live other than this planet. Turkey is an integral part of Europe. Turkey and the EU need to march together. Aydın is ready for EU membership along with its high potential in the field of agriculture, tourism, industry and geothermal energy. We must promote and share existing resources in order to grow together", the Governor said.
Ambassador Berger also visited the beautiful town of Kuşadası "Pigeon Island," which is known to be the centre of art and culture since the earliest recorded history. Ambassador met the Mayor of Kuşadası, Özer Kayalı and the Deputy Mayor Ayşe Şerifoğlu who warmly welcomed the Ambassador and his delegation. Ambassador Berger and Mayor Kayalı exchanged views about ongoing and past EU projects, and ideas for future cooperation.
As part of the visit programme, Ambassador Berger met other local authorities including, Mustafa Hulusi Arat, Deputy Governor in charge of EU Affairs and was briefed by the EU Co-ordinator Reyhan Türkmen and the experts of the EU and Foreign Affairs department of the Governorate. Together with Governor of Aydın and local administrators, Ambassador Berger attended a meeting held by the Steering and Advisory Committee on EU Harmonization. He paid courtesy visits to Mr Mesut Özakcan, the Mayor of Efeler Municipality; Mr Hakan Ülken, the President of Chamber of Commerce; Mr Mehmet Yunus Şahin, President of Aydın Chamber of Industry.
At the Aydın Adnan Menderes University, the EU Delegation was welcomed by Rector Cavit Bircan and exchanged views with academics and students. Mr Berger presented certificates to university students who attended the EU Project Cycle Management training.
The EU Delegation also visited the cultural treasures of the region like the former Greek village of Domatia, now Doganbey, the Dilek National Park, Miletus, Priene and the Kadi Castle with it magnificent view over the Samos Straights. Another highlight was the visit to the remarkable Kuşadası Olive and Olive Oil Museum as well as the Aydın Archaeology Museum which exhibits the oldest music composition in recorded history known as the "Song of Seiklos."
The visit programme also included an interactive debate with representatives of the local cultural scene in Aydın bringing together the Aydın Efe Yörük Culture Association and their Manager Mr Muhsin Aydoğdu; Ms. Havva Çetintürk, a writer on Aydın food culture, Prof. Mükerrem Kürün, an art historian, and Ms. İlknur Karaçayır, the manager of the Aydın Culture House which hosted the meeting. EU Ambassador Berger said that "after having seen Aydın's unique art, history, culture as well as its amazing people, it is easy to understand why Herodotus referred to Aydın as the "most beautiful landscape under the sky…".
Thanks to the efforts and initiative of Aydın Governor Yavuz Selim Koşger, and the EU and Foreign Affairs Department for their kind invitation and warm welcome as well as all local partners for their great hospitality.