Prof. Dr. Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the GNAT spoke at the panel titled "Heritage of Hearts from the Ottoman Rumelia till today" organized in coordination with Yunus Emre Institute, Archers’ Foundation and International Balkan University (IBU) in Skopje. 21.12.2020

Speaker Şentop told he believed that the panel would contribute to further strengthening of existing friendship and cooperation between the Turkish nation and brother nations living in the Balkans and stated that he would share his feelings with the participants as the son of a Rumelian immigrant family.

Şentop emphasized that they are a nation directly and closely related with a broad geography stretching from the Great Wall of China to the Adriatic Sea, "We have encountered different nations, cultures and civilizations during our journey from Asia to Anatolia and from there to Europe. It is possible to observe the affects of our encounters through the words in our language, motifs in our carpets and rugs, from our architectural designs to our grave stones. Thus, Rumelia is a proof of that."

Şentop indicated that it is possible to see the marks left in the past when you go to the states in the region, "In fact, our presence in this geography goes back to the time of Bulgarian State, before the Ottoman. However, the period where we left permanent marks in Rumelia in terms of military, politics and cultural dominance is the time of the Ottoman Empire. The place where we were acquainted with the most is Northern Macedonia. Because, it was the center of Rumelia during the Ottoman."

Speaker Şentop pointed out that during the "Cold War" years, states and nations were separated not just by borderlines but also in their minds and in this period where nations became alienated, the distance between hearts grew; hence, communication with the Balkans reduced to a great extent causing blindness in memories of the time’s communities.

Şentop explained that, after two world wars, the ideological fanaticsm period was over symbolically after 1989 with the breaking down of Berlin Wall which meant removing the obstacles preventing people from rejoining and elimination of prejudices.

Mustafa Şentop emphasized that after the breaking down of Berlin Wall, an opportunity enabling them to rejoin with their brothers came up and stated the following:

"People living in a broad geography from Europe to Asia, from the Balkans to Caucasia started making future plans together. Most of the relatives of people living here are in Turkey. Turkey is the homeland of our brothers in Northern Macedonia. The roots of Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who lead our country throughout history, is from these lands."

Şentop emphasized that the Balkans is Turkey’s door to Europe and continued his words:

"Turkey is the door to broad Asia geography for the Balkans. We need each other. Not because of incapableness but because of the need to develop. The future offers us opportunities in order to satisfy our needs. We can use opportunities with our friends. To resolve issues, we must cooperate and spread welfare among us. The ever-developing Turkey is an assurance of peace, welfare, security and tranquility in the Balkans, Caucasia and the Middle East. The search for a future based on war and conflicts is over."

Salih Murat, President of the Constitutional Court of Northern Macedonia emphasized that Turks living in the country are among the most constructive nations, "The main element of Turkey-Northern Macedonia relations is the cognates here. Today, we live in six states in Rumelia. We have always been constructive and today we build our ancestors’ bridge of hearts in Skopje. We are the guardians of a 700 year old civilization."

Haydar Ali Yıldız, President of Archers’ Foundation told that each year they organize meetings in order to understand the conquests and to commemorate the conquerors and indicated that the subject of discussion today is the stance of the heritage of civilization in Rumelia.

Aydoğan Ademovski, Chairman of the Executive Board of IBU thanked Şentop and the accompanying delegation for not leaving Turks living in Northern Macedonia on such a glorious day as well as during the global pandemic.

Mehmet Dursun Erdem, Rector of IBU told that the university has been a pioneer in organizing such social activities since its establishment and indicated that today IBU stands out as the most qualified university in the country.