During his address at the awards ceremony, Erdoğan relayed the following messages on our nation's honored photographers:
WITNESSES OF HISTORY
* "I want to thank your hands, heart and soul and your eyes for showing us what we are unable to see.
* With their photography, these four great masters have reflected Turkey's colors. The Istanbul that has been portrayed by Ara Güler, Kemaliye captured by Sıtkı Fırat, the shots of Anatolia by Sabit Kalfagil and the Whirling Dervishes photographed by İzzet Keribar are all images that portray Turkey from the heart.
* I implore all of those who want to witness how Turkey's distinction creates a harmony and abundance in the world to look at the works of these four photographers. Despite the color of their skin, they are first and foremost artists. Whatever languages they speak, they are from Turkey. And regardless of whatever they believe in, they all have the ability to capture's people's hearts through their view finder.
* Your photographs, your shots are the best response to racism, discrimination and hatred. No one and I mean absolutely no one has the right to marginalize or question someone else's love for Turkey. There is no racism in the heart of this land; there is no marginalization in the spirit of this land.
* We will never allow for racism, marginalization or hatred to grow on this land nor will we tolerate it. Those who consider themselves to be the sole proprietors of this country, who marginalize those who are different, should first take a look at themselves and their own darkened hearts.
* We want to present this country and the world with photographs that solely display unity, integrity, love and tolerance. As for racist, discriminatory or marginalizing images; to blame an entire nation over a single frame is an injustice for Turkey.
*Those that look from the heart, see the colors of this nation. Those who see things based on ideology, only see darkness. Every one of this nation's values, every color in this nation's land is our treasure. I repeat; it is unjust to blame an entire nation for imagery in a single frame. It is ruthless and unjust for a number of unwitting people to present certain inciting and exaggerating imagery of Turkey as if it was representative of the nation as a whole."
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