Ambassador Ünal’s speech at the Ottawa Tulip Festival Launch.
Your Worship, Mayor of Ottawa, Mr. Jim Watson,
Distinguished Members of the Landscape
Dear Friends of the Ottawa Tulip Festival,
Thank you very much for inviting the Embassy today.
Originated from Turkey, tulips are are common theme in the Turkish traditional art. But they have also become a friendship bond between Canadians and Turks. And the bond is actually the Ottawa Tulip Festival.
Over the past decades, Turkish-Canadians grew as a community both in numbers and in their contributions to the Canadian society. Today, there is a vibrant Turkish community of around 90 thousand in Canada. Turkish-Canadians are contributors to the Canadian economy and staunch supporters of multiculturalism and diversity. Ottawa is home to almost four thousand Turkish-Canadians, where they have also left their marks as part of this beautiful capital city.
Turkish artwork of Iznik tiles are one of them. They decorate several locations in Ottawa-Gatineau area. Donated by Turkey to the former city of Hull in 2001, two different styles of Iznik tiles are located in the Hall of Honour of the Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau. Another donation of Turkey to the City of Ottawa stands as a cultural monument in Rideau Falls Park. The styles shown in these monuments date back to the 16th century. The figures reflect allegorical and symbolic characteristics and the flora and fauna of Anatolia.
This year is not only the 25th anniversary of the tulip friendship betwen Turkey and Canada, but also the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Canada.
Actually, the Istanbul Greater Municipality who has been hosting International Istanbul Tulip Festivals for the last 15 years was about to bring in their unique concept of Turkish Tulip Carpet to the festival. However, due to a technicality issue, they will not be able to participate as they wish via brining the tulips from Turkey. Instead, they intend to support the Festival with a photographic exhibition on the history of tulips. We as the Embassy, like always, will be supporting the Festival to the best of our capacity to contribute to the heritage of this lovely city of Ottawa.
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