Concert organized on the occasion of the 600th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Poland (28 May 2014, Fürsternberg Palace)

Cihad Erginay 28.05.2014
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentleman,

It is a great honor and a privilege to welcome you all to this concert held on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Poland.

Just the fact that Turkey and Poland have had uninterrupted relations for 600 years is an indication of how strong our bond is. This is why during 2014 all around the world we are celebrating this important milestone with different activities.

Throughout history Turkey and Poland have shared a common fate. In 1526 following the war of Mohaç the Ottoman and Polish Empires became land neighbours. As with most neighbours these two states had their differences and numerous conflicts (such as the one in 1620-21, 1633-34 and 1671-76). During the second siege of Vienna it was the Polish King Jan Sobieski that came to the rescue of the Austrians.

In the 18th century the Kingdom of Poland was attacked by Austria, Prussia and Russia, its powerful neighbors and former allies, which seized vast tracts of Polish territory. Finally in 1795 the country was partitioned by these powers and Poland ceased to exist. However, the Ottoman state refused to recognize the partition of Poland and in the Ottoman Palace protocol the place of the Polish Ambassador was always preserved. On formal state occasions it was always declared that the Polish Ambassador was “delayed on his journey and so was unable to attend”. This was a sign of respect to a great nation.

In the 20th century both countries proclaimed the establishment of their Republics. Today both nations are partners in NATO and other international organizations, and Poland is a staunch supporter of Turkey’s negotiation and accession process to the EU. Our countries’ young and dynamic economies also show similarities.

The human link is also a strong aspect of our relations. For example in the 19th century many Polish veterans of the Uprisings and Crimean War arrived in Turkey. Many Polish officers, like Michał Czajkowski, served in the Ottoman Army. Polish General Marian Langiewicz spent the last years of his life in Turkey, fought in the Ottoman Army and died in Istanbul, where he is buried. Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz adopted Turkey as his second home and spent the last months of his life in Istanbul and died there as well. The house where he lived was later transformed into the Adam Mickiewicz Museum. There is also a Polish village of Polonezköy (Adampol) in Turkey. It lies on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and was settled in 1842 by Polish veterans of the November Uprising such as the Polish national hero Adam Czartoryski (Çartoriski). In the 19th and 20th centuries further Polish settlers arrived. As of today there is still a Polish minority in this village.

I believe that this strong relationship that has lasted for the past six centuries will grow stronger in the future and transcend to new generations to come.

This year also marks the 90th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Czech Republic. So to have this concert in one of the most important hubs of music in Europe, namely Prague, is also very meaningful for us.

Tonight, you will be listening to a most renowned and talented young Turkish Pianist Mrs. Hande Dalkılıç. She will be performing a wonderful program incorporating Turkish and Polish compositions, some of which you may know and others like the Turkish tunes you might hear for the first time.

A few words on Hande Dalkılıç. She was born in Ankara-Turkey and started her academic training in Bilkent University Faculty of Music and Performing Arts in 1989. Here, she studied with Prof. Ersin Onay up to the level of doctorate, cultivating her prowess and her musical formation, which had already begun to mature and distinguish at a very young age. During this period and afterwards she studied and discussed musical ideas with distinguished pianist - pedagogues such as György Sandor, Sebastian Benda and Prof. George Sava. She got her Associate Professor degree in March 2006 and then her Professor degree on November 2013 in Hacettepe Ankara State Conservatory where she currently teaches. Besides her role as European Piano Teachers Association Turkey president she continues her career as a soloist through her concerts both home and abroad, together with her radio and TV broadcasts. Hande Dalkılıç has released several CD’s and has performed in numerous festivals and concerts around the world.

Finally, allow me to express my appreciation to the Ambassador of Poland, H.E. Grazyna Bernatowicz, who was the inspiration behind the idea of this concert and to all others that have kindly contributed.

Thank you for being present here tonight and I hope you will enjoy this evening.


Egemen Bağış Ambassador
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09.00 - 12.30

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