Remarks by Ambassador Selçuk Ünal at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Selçuk Ünal 23.03.2017

Dear Director General, Esteemed Guests,

It is a pleasure for me to address this distinguished audience of lovers of food and different tastes at the Global Tastes International Food Night organised on the occasion of the Canada 150. We are also proud to be the first country taking part in your programme in 2017. I congratulate all Canadians for the 150th anniversary of Canada.

Thank you all for your interest and participation. I would particularly like to thank the Director General Kerry-Leigh Burchill and all the esteemed staff of the Museum for their extensive and professional assistance from the very first day. I also wish to thank our Culture and Tourism Office in Toronto as well the Turkish Airlines Montreal Office who are sponsors. Last, but not the least, sincerest thanks go to our Chef İsmet Saz, who was very well introduced by the Director General.

UN World Tourism Organization says that international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% on a yearly basis. Today people are travelling not only for tourism, but also for gastronomy.Turkeyis currently the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting more than 36 million tourists annually. And sun and sand is not the only reason. There is a very strong food perspective.

With historic cities like Istanbul; Turkish Riviera,first and foremostAntalyaat the Mediterranean; beautiful landscape of Cappadocia, rich culinary in many cities such as Antakya and Gaziantep, Turkey promises a unique experience for all visitors.

Istanbul, where our Chef is coming from, has become a trademarkwith its many faces including gastronomy. It is thesecondcityafter New York with the highest number of Consulate Generals. 61 million passengers travelled through Istanbul in 2015. It hosted more travellers thanthe number JFK and Frankfurtand it becamethe biggest hub in Europe. Seafood lovers should dine at the terrific fish restaurants of Istanbul as well as the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. Gourmets like yourselves should also not miss cuisine of Gaziantep which was just included into UNESCOCreativeCities Network.

But since we are here on the occasion of history of Canada, we should focus more on Turkey and Canada. As you will see, one of the dishes prepared now is also a trade item between two countries: lentil. Lentil represents a success story between two countries. Even though we are a pulse producing country lentil it a great percentage of Canadian exports to Turkey in particular from Saskachevan.

While we are talking on history, I would like to inform you about a monument which is located near the İvriz village, 12 km to Ereğli, Konya in Turkey. The relief is about 4.20 meter tall and 2.40 meters wide and carved on the rock walls near a large spring. It shows Warpalawa, King of Tuwana, worshipping the god Tarhunza who holds ears of wheat in one hand and bunches of grapes in the other. The god wears a horned helmet, a symbol of divinity. The figure of the king, which is considerably smaller than that of Tarhunza, is elaborately dressed and appears in a worshipping stance. King Warpalawa of Tuwana is known in Assyrian sources as Urballa. He was in power at least between 738-710 BC, thus the monument is dated to the second half of 8th century BC. His name also appears in Bor and Bulgarmaden monuments. You will see more information in the brouchures in your courtesy bags.

Further up in the mountain at Ambar Deresi, there is a second relief which appears to be a replication of the İvriz relief. It is approximately the same size, less detailed and probably was never finished. Unlike the İvriz relief this one has no inscription.

A third relief was discovered by villagers only in 1972, about 25-30 meters up the creek from the İvriz relief, about 10 meters above the way. It is a flatly carved relief, only about a centimetre in depth, and shows a man or woman wearing a short skirt, leading an animal to the right. This relief has also been moved to the Ereğli Museum.

In 1986, about 75 meter upstream from the İvriz relief, a colossal statue head was discovered during the construction of an irrigation channel. Only the bottom part of it survived. They are all displayed in Ereğli Museum today. In a country hosting several Abrahamic religions, these are the first monuments that appeared in the world on food and agriculture even centuries before the Abrahamic religions.

Thank you.

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