“They Had Faith In Turkey”

Cihad Erginay 13.06.2012
Thank you very much for your attendance at the reception inaugurating this exhibition today. You are all most welcome.

Today’s exhibition is a documentary exhibition titled “They Had Faith In Turkey” about individuals, leaders, communities who at various stages of history have had to flee their countries due to repression, persecution, discrimination and other factors and who have found refuge, a safe haven in Turkey/Ottoman Empire.

Going around the exhibition you may recognize many of the famous individuals featured because they have made their marks in history. This was either the reason for their refuge in Turkey, or they became the heroes that they are because of their flight from their countries, families and friends.

The Ottoman Empire or Turkey, depending on which times we are speaking of, became a safe haven, home to these people either because it was their first choice of destination for escape or settlement, or they chose Turkey as a place of transit for periods varying from a couple of weeks to several years or simply because no one else would accept them.

Therefore this exhibition is not only about history, from which we have to draw lessons, but also about humanity.

We are proud to be hosting this exhibition in Prague, in the Czech Republic because people of these lands have suffered throughout history and have had to seek refuge in foreign lands and know what it means to be a refugee.

Turkey throughout its history has always extended a helping hand to those in need, whether they are large communities like the Sephardic Jews who have become an inseparable part of Turkish society or individuals whose names we don’t know. It is a moral responsibility for us. For us it is tradition, it is custom, it is a matter of honor and pride.

Even today we host thousands of Syrians fleeing the atrocities we witness in that country. Just in the last 48 hours 2000 Syrians have crossed the border into Turkey. We will host as many as it takes simply because it is the right thing to do, it is the humane thing to do.

Lastly, allow me to thank Mr. Karel Srp for helping us host this event and providing us the space in this very authentic location. He is a revolutionary himself and he is a man who I admire very much.

Thank you.


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