The newly opened Turkish House (Türkevi) is a symbol of Turkey's faith in the United Nations, along with multilateralism, justice and peace, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday as he officially inaugurated the landmark building in New York City, adding that the "masterpiece" building will serve for decades to come as a lasting symbol of Turkey's diplomatic success.
Speaking at its opening ceremony, which also featured a music concert, Erdoğan said the Turkish House will stand as a reflection of Turkey's place on the world stage ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic in 2023.
"We are proud" of the new center, said the president.
"Because for our nation and for our state, we have now bestowed a permanent work of art. We are proud because we are adding to the silhouette of New York, with a sterling example of our historical and traditional architecture," said Erdoğan.
"I would like to extend my special gratitude to each of you for being with us on this historic day," he added.
Bought from American tech giant IBM in 1977, the building served as Ankara's permanent mission to the U.N. and consulate general until 2013, when extensive renovations began.
The president said the building will serve for decades to come as a lasting symbol of Turkey's diplomatic success.
Among the distinguished guests who attended the inauguration at 821 First Avenue in Manhattan – a stone's throw from U.N. headquarters – was U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Other guests included Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar, Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as well as representatives of foreign missions.
Calling it an "enormous pleasure" to attend the inauguration of the new Turkish House, Guterres went on to laud Turkey's unmatched record in hosting and helping refugees.
"I am personally familiar with the enormous generosity of Turkey and Turkish host communities toward refugees," said Guterres, adding: "I offer my sincere appreciation for your support to people in need of protection."
In a pair of tweets, Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that Erdoğan paved the way for the new Turkish House, adding that its doors are open to the people of all nations.
"President Erdoğan's determined leadership is the most important factor in the creation of this incredible new building, Türkevi," he wrote.
"It brings together Seljuk architectural style with modern technology and is situated right across from the United Nations.
"The building is a testament to Turkey's commitment to international solidarity & cooperation for the sake of humanity.
"Türkevi will be a home for our citizens and a center for Turkish connection to the international community. Its doors are open to all citizens of all nations."
The landmark 36-story skyscraper houses the U.N. permanent mission of Turkey as well as the Turkish Consulate General.
The building, which features traditional Turkish architectural motifs, especially from the Seljuk Empire of a millennium ago, rises to the sky in the shape of a tulip and can be seen from downtown Manhattan, the East River and as far away as Long Island.
It was designed as a symbolic skyscraper that will add to the skyline of New York, one of the world's most iconic cities, and reflect Turkish culture, history and diversity.
Erdoğan also said Monday that Turkey will work to prevent the recruitment and exploitation of children and young people by terrorist groups.
"Be it Daesh, be it the PKK or be it FETÖ, we do not have even one more child to lose to terrorist groups," Erdoğan said in his address to the board of the Turken Foundation at the newly opened Turkish House in New York City.
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in Turkey in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 wounded.
FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
"We are feeling the pain of every youth who has knowingly or unknowingly fallen into networks of these structures," said the Turkish president, adding the government will work more for the youth than the terrorist groups do.
"If they (terrorist groups) reach one youth, we will work to reach hundreds, thousands, but we will not let the pack of these traitors poison our youths' minds and hearts," said Erdoğan.
The parents, who are protesting in front of the office of the pro-PKK People's Democratic Party (HDP), say their children have been kidnapped and recruited by the terrorist group through the political party's provincial headquarters.
So far, scores of children have been reunited with their families after efforts of the security forces with the grieving parents.
President Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also conducted heavy diplomacy traffic in New York.
Erdoğan received U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Türkevi in a meeting that lasted 40 minutes and also attended by Çavuşoğlu, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Trade Minister Mehmet Muş.
Erdoğan also met Monday with the president of the 75th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The closed-door meeting between Erdoğan and veteran Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkır took place at the Turkish House.
Earlier in the day, Erdoğan received Guterres to discuss issues related to Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Cyprus.
Çavuşoğlu also held separate meetings with his Colombian, Venezuelan and Bahraini counterparts in New York.
Meeting with Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez, Çavuşoğlu said that the two countries will finalize agreements to encourage trade and investment.
"We will increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and irregular migration," he said on Twitter.
Following his meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Felix Plasencia, Çavuşoğlu said that the trade volume between the two countries doubled despite the pandemic and stressed that they will continue the momentum.
The Turkish foreign minister also met with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and underlined the positive developments between the two countries.
"Will build on the positive momentum we have recently reached in our relations. Wish to further develop our cooperation especially in tourism and health," he said on Twitter.
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