Remarks Of Mr. Çağatay Erciyes, Ambassador Of Turkey To Lebanon At The Conference ‘’1516: The Year That Changed The Middle East And The World’’

Beyrut Büyükelçiliği 07.12.2016

Remarks of Mr. Çağatay Erciyes, Ambassador of Turkey to Lebanon

at the Conference

‘’1516: The Year That Changed the Middle East and the World’’

7 December 2016

American University of Beirut, College Hall, B1

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to address such a distinguished group of guests at the opening of this important and timely conference entitled “1516: The Year That Changed the Middle East and the World”.

I must admit that every AUB event that I attended so far was a rewarding experience for me. Today’s conference is no exception and indeed it is for me the most exciting and inspirational one because of the high profile and the variety of its participants and its subject matter.

I would like to add my voice to President Khuri in warmly welcoming all 33 Professors from 9 different countries who are contributing to the Conference. We are delighted to see you in Lebanon.

This conference would not have been possible without the invaluable support and contribution of a number of individuals and institutions.

First I would like to extend my sincere thanks to AUB for hosting this conference and President Khurifor his patronage and blessing.

Likewise allow me to thank Prof. Abdul Rahim Abu-Husayn, for his tireless efforts in the organization of this Conference. He was indeed the mastermind behind the whole idea.

My personal appreciation also goes out to Mr. Mehmet Ali Neyzi, an AUB post-graduate student, yet a close friend and a former businessman for his energetic efforts in bringing us together through his organizational and fund raising skills.

Likewise I would also thank the Director of Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center Mr. Cengiz Eroglu for working continuously to make this conference a success.

Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors, namely the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, the Turkish-Lebanese Business Council, Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center and TIKA. I recognize the presence of their representatives, including Mr. Rona Yırcalı and Mr.Wajih Bizri who are among us today. Thank you for your kind and valuable support.

As for the subject matter of our conference, I would not dare to get into details in front of so many distinguished history professors.

In my humble opinion, history should be left to the historians, rather than diplomats and politicians and be written based on facts and documents rather than ideologies.

With that reservation allow me to say a few words about the conference topic.

As you all know, this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Marj Dabiq that took place between the Ottoman Empire and the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt in the North of Aleppo. This battle was a turning point in the history of the Middle East. For sure, this battle permanently shaped the region’s politics, demographics and religious movements. Lebanon, Syria and Palestine became a part of the Ottoman Empire after this battle. As such, it was the beginning of 400 years of peaceful coexistence among the people of the region.

Unfortunately, the Middle East now does not resemble the peaceful coexistence of the previous era. The region today deeply suffers from violence, terrorism, religious fundamentalism and sectarian policies. We are all witnessing what is happening in Syria in general and the tragedy in Aleppo in particular, where the very battle of Marj Dabiq took place. Aleppo has become a stain on the conscience of humanity.In this respect, I sincerely hope that a political solution in Syria can be reached as soon as possible in line with the Geneva Communique and the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 so that there will be no more human suffering.

With these thoughts, I sincerely wish that this conference will bring a new perspective in understanding the history of our region in retrospect with your valuable intellectual and academic contribution.

I welcome you all once again and wish you a very fruitful and productiveconference.

Thank you.

Hakan Çakıl Ambassador
Monday - Friday

09:00 - 16:00 / Kon. 09:00 - 14:00

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