Speaking at the opening ceremony of EXPO 2016 Antalya, President Erdoğan said: 'The opening date of our exhibition is on the eve of a very special day for our country and particularly for the children. With EXPO 2016, Antalya adds a new one to the list of international events it has successfully hosted.'
Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey İsmail Kahraman, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Deputy Prime Minister Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Faruk Çelik, Governor of Antalya Muammer Türker, Mayor of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Menderes Türel, relevant ministers and representatives of participating countries, members of parliament were also present at the ceremony, during which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech.
Thanking the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), which co-organized the exhibition with Turkey, for their contributions and cooperation, President Erdoğan said the exhibition site, where the participating countries display their botanical cultures, is not just a grand park and that every detail there has special meaning.
'EXPO 2016 WILL BREAK THE RECORD OF VISITORS'
'The EXPO Tower represents historical Hadrian's Gate, one of the symbols of Antalya. The Agriculture and Biodiversity Museum is the first museum in this area in Turkey. The 6500-seat Congress Hall and 2 amphitheaters will enrich Antalya's already dynamic world of culture and entertainment,' President Erdoğan said and he added: 'EXPO 2016 Antalya took its place in history as the EXPO that witnessed the highest participation after the exhibition, held in Osaka in 1990. I believe a similar record will be broken in terms of the number of visitors. With EXPO 2016, Antalya adds a new one to the list of international events it has successfully hosted.'
'We, when we chose 'Flowers and Children' as the theme of EXPO, aimed to create a strong platform of dialogue through a perspective of history, biodiversity, sustainability and green cities,' President Erdoğan said and he added: 'The correlation between children and flowers in terms of purity, beauty and innocence gave inspiration to us for this exhibition. The fact that we chose this theme demonstrates the importance our country attaches to protecting the environment and next generations.'
'WE HAVE PLANTED 3.5 BILLION SAPLINGS IN 13 YEARS'
Stating that they have put these ideas into practice and planted 3.5 billion saplings in 13 years, President Erdoğan said they work to enrich and diversify agricultural production. The President further stated: '9% of Turkey's production and 25% of its jobs come from the agriculture sector. Therefore, Turkey has to maintain its strong relations with the earth. We have special love for mother earth. By 2023 when we will celebrate the 100 anniversary of the foundation of our Republic, we aim to have raised our agricultural production up to $150 billion.'
'ANATOLIA HAS ALL NATURAL QUALITIES NECESSARY FOR MANKIND TO LIVE'
'We are determined to preserve the biodiversity in our country, which is located at the crossing point of all major gene pools in the world,' President Erdoğan said, drawing attention to some 12 thousand plant species in Turkey, 32% of which is endemic. The President added: 'The fact that this geography has more species than the entire Europe combined makes this richness globally important. It also shows how right it is to hold the 2016 World Botanical EXPO here. The opening date of our exhibition is on the eve of a very special day for our country and particularly for the children. Tomorrow is the day our Grand National Assembly, which conducted our War of Independence by the hands of legitimate representatives chosen by our people, was opened. It is also the only festival gifted to children in the world.'
Expressing that Anatolia has all natural qualities necessary for mankind to live, President Erdoğan said global warming and the related climate change are the greatest menaces to this richness. As Turkey, the President said, we do everything we can about this matter and protecting the environment will continue to be one of our top priorities.