Remarks by Ambassador Ahmet Akif Oktay at the Turkish National Day Reception

Ahmet Akif Oktay 31.10.2011
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR AHMET AKİF OKTAY
AT THE TURKISH NATIONAL DAY RECEPTION
MELIA HOTEL, HANOI, 31 OCTOBER 2011


Your Excellency Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Mr. Pham Quang Vinh,
Esteemed Representatives of Vietnamese Institutions,
Distinguished Ambassadors, Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This evening, we are celebrating the 88th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. Welcome and thank you all for joining us on this occasion.
National day receptions are normally happy events. However, this year our joy is tempered by a grave natural disaster that occurred recently in the eastern part of Turkey. As you know, the earthquake that struck the city of Van on October 23rd claimed hundreds of lives. We are profoundly grieved by our losses. But we will heal the wounds and rebuild.
I would like to take this opportunity to also express our gratitude for the solidarity and support we have received from the international community in the wake of this tragedy.
Let me also underline that such calamities will not keep us from advancing along the path of progress on which we embarked at the birth of our Republic.
Our founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, proclaimed the Republic in the first parliament building in Ankara, which is shown on the backdrop behind me. Afterwards, he set our nation on an irreversible course of social, economic and human development that led us to modern Turkey. Nearly nine decades later, the spirit of reform in our country is still very much alive. We are constantly upgrading our standards at home and actively supporting international efforts to promote peace, stability and prosperity around the world.
Like Turkey, Vietnam has also achieved impressive results in the economic, social and other fields in its post-independence period, thanks to the dedicated efforts of its leadership and its people’s hard work. But there is much more to Vietnam than just rapid modernization. It is also a country with a deeply-rooted history and culture, an extremely warm-hearted people, as well as exceptional natural diversity and beauty.
I am very pleased to state that Turkey and Vietnam enjoy excellent relations at both bilateral and international levels. The volume of our two-way trade is expected to reach 1 billion dollars soon. Our next target is to double it in a few years. We are in the final stages of concluding important agreements in the economic field. Our national carrier is now flying to Ho Chi Minh City and wants to start flights to Hanoi as well. Furthermore, we plan to organize a national Turkish Export Products Exhibition in Vietnam next year.
Official contacts are also intensifying. Our Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Bülent Arınç, visited Hanoi earlier this year, while from Vietnam, there were visits to Turkey by the Vice President of Vietnam, H.E. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Doan, as well delegations from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Hanoi People’s Committee and the academic world. I feel privileged to be serving in Hanoi at this particular time when our relations are marked by a new dynamism.
This evening, we thought we should also give you a taste of the Turkish culture. We are pleased to welcome the “Zuhurat” ensemble who came from Turkey to perform examples of traditional Turkish sufi music, and Mr. Mustafa Bora Özpeker, an “Ebru” artist who will demonstrate this centuries-old technique of painting.
I would like to thank you all once again for being here. May I now ask you to join me in a toast to the 88th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, to the well-being, prosperity and friendship of the Turkish and Vietnamese peoples, to the health and happiness of the leaders of both countries, and to our distinguished Guest of Honor, His Excellency Mr. Pham Quang Vinh.

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