13 February 2014 - Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, Dr. Fuat Oktay, President, Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management (Afet Acil Durum Yonetimi Baskanligi- AFAD), former Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Ambassador Hatice Pinar Isik and Ambassador Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the month-long international exhibition from February 07 to March 07, 2014.
The Embassy of the Philippines, the Gazi University, and Gazi University Faculty of Arts and the Visual Arts Education Practice and Research for Disabled People (GEGSEM) jointly organized the exhibition. The proponents of the exhibition, Dr. Bulent Salderay, Faculty of Gazi University Fine Arts Department and Head of GEGSEM, and Ankara-based Filipino artist, Mr. Jonal Buenafe, were also introduced to the audience during the program. In his brief speech, Dr. Salderay stated that the event will showcase artworks donated by Turkish artists and academe which will be sold during the exhibition and that all proceeds from the sale will go to the reconstruction efforts in Tacloban.
The Ambassador reiterated the Philippines’ deepest appreciation to the Turkish Government for its substantial and expeditious assistance to Tacloban and neighboring provinces which DPM Atalay and Dr. Oktay brought themselves to the Philippines. She also thanked the international community and the artists for helping the Philippines overcome the devastation caused by the supertyphoon.
In his speech, DPM Atalay explained that the Turkish Government always seeks to enhance its relations with the Philippines and that Turkey’s immediate assistance was its response to a friendly country’s call for help in the face of natural disaster. He expressed hope that the international exhibit would be successful and contribute to the reconstruction efforts in Tacloban.
Heads of Missions of diplomatic and international organizations who took part in this event were Indonesian Ambassador Nahari Agustini, Malaysian Ambassador-designate Amran Mohammed Zin, Brunei Ambassador-designate Mohd Sarip Othman, British Ambassador David Norman Reddaway, South African Ambassador Vika Khumalo, Bosnian Ambassador Damir Dzanko, Singaporean Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Lorling Lee and UN Food and Agriculture Organization Country Representative Mustapha Sinacuer. END