Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the GNAT, Abdullah Eren, President of YTB, Hüsnü İsmaili, Minister of Culture of North Macedonia, Tülin Erkal Kara, Ambassador of Turkish Republic to Skopje, Dr. Necip Fazıl Kurt, Senior Advisor to the Speaker of the GNAT, Members of the GNAT, representatives of Turkish institutions and corporations and many invitees attended the closing program organized by the Union of Macedonia Turkish Civil Society Organizations (MATÜSİTEB).
In his speech, Şentop stated the importance of these kinds of activities for the youth and emphasized that the region as a whole is not just the heart of recent history but also the world’s history until ancient ages.
Şentop indicated that whenever there was crisis and conflicts in the region, the whole world also faced crisis and conflicts and stated that in order to maintain peace in the Balkans, younger generations must understand and respect each other and live in peace.
Şentop stated that, in order to ensure this, it is essential to provide communication, negotiation, making acquaintances and discussion and to guide those.
Şentop explained that he is also a child of the Balkans, “I am the child of a family who immigrated from Gevgelija, North Macedonia to Thrace, Turkey in 1926. In a way, I am a son of the Balkans, Rumelia just like you.”
Şentop pointed out that the 20th century is a difficult period in terms of the history of mankind and continued his words:
“If we are to count from the Balkan Wars, over 10 million people were killed in the First World War. More than 70 million people were killed in the Second World War. We know that quite recently, in the first half of the 90’s there was genocide against our brothers in Bosnia Herzegovina. A short while ago, in a different geographical region, in Ruanda approximately 1 million people were butchered and cut with primitive tools. Hence, the 20th century will not be remembered as a good one in terms of the history of mankind.”
Şentop emphasized the fact that many institutions that have been established in this century to maintain world peace have failed to do so and explained that the reason is that they had been founded on wrong grounds and wrong logic.
Şentop indicated that one of these institutions is the United Nations (UN) and they have been unsuccessful in establishing world peace, “Why? Because their foundation base is crooked. It was established under the guidance of the winners of war. Losers of the war are not in the administration. As you know, 5 countries in the UN have the right to veto. If 195 countries out of 196 make a decision and one of the aforementioned 5 countries vetos it, that decision becomes invalid.”
Eren, President of YTB reminded that the Balkan Youth School Project is one of YTB’s vision projects and it was first conducted in 2016.
Eren stated that the project was conducted in 8 Balkan countries and Turkey has provided development aid particularly to the Balkans and different geographical regions.
Eren explained that, “These include education grants, aids and investments made by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), Yunus Emre Institute and various institutions of our state. According to 2015 OECD data, Turkey has provided nearly 150 million dollars of development aid to the Balkan region. Turkey will continue helping increasingly.”
Eren stated that in order to build a common future, common solutions to common issues must be found and it is important to ensure continuity of consciousness and parallelism of the semantic world among the Balkan youth.
Eren indicated that with the Balkan Youth School Project, their goal is to make sure the youth in the Balkans get to know each other better.
Eren underlined the fact that the project will contribute to development of Turkey’s relationship with the Balkans stating, “We did not make any ethnic, sectarian or religious discrimination while conducting this program. We have tried to provide this support to our each and every young brother that we could reach. I sincerely hope that we can perform this event which includes multiple activities more effectively in the upcoming years.”
Ambassador Kara also stated that YTB broadened horizons for hundreds of youngsters around the world and has conducted such valuable work which enabled them to integrate with society as useful individuals in their respective countries.
Kara indicated that particularly graduates with a bachelor’s degree and postgraduates who have Turkish scholarships have contributed to their countries’ progress and welfare stating, “I believe that YTB who approaches North Macedonia with great attention and care, will contribute to our friend and brother North Macedonia’s education level by putting successful projects into effect in the upcoming period.”
Kara called out to the youngsters by saying, “Dear students, you are voluntary ambassadors between your countries and Turkey. Your knowledge and future success will add new dimensions to our bilateral relations.”
İsmaili, Minister of Culture of North Macedonia stated that organizing the evaluation and closing program of YTB supported Balkan Youth School project in North Macedonia is meaningful.
İsmaili reminded that with this project, various nations living in the Balkans would have the opportunity to understand and get to know each other better by saying, “I believe the Balkan Youth School project will reinforce different nations’ coexistence culture and will help preserve peace, stability and welfare in this region.”
Hüsrev Emin, President of MATÜSİTEB stated that Turkey has been gratuitously supporting its cognates in the Balkans both financially and morally for years and that these economic, social and cultural aids are a source of hope for future development of Rumelian Turks and cognates and their relatives here.