Today (12 November), Minister of State Böhmer opened the Istanbul International Book Fair in Turkey. Germany is Guest of Honour at the Book Fair.
Minister of State Böhmer acknowledged Istanbul as an important artistic and cultural hub on the Bosphorus: “Istanbul is a bridge between east and west, between traditional and modern; the metropolis is a literary invitation. Its fascination and appeal have enchanted authors from all over the world. They have immersed themselves in it and channelled it into their works.”
In view of the recent developments in Turkey, Minister of State Böhmer underlined the special role of cultural relations between Germany and Turkey:
Books and literature serve to mediate between cultures and foster understanding that transcends borders. Even in difficult times we believe in the power of understanding and dialogue – with the Government, Parliament and civil society. Now more than ever we want to strengthen the cultural ties between Germany and the people in Turkey. A book fair is a place of open dialogue and free speech. Against this backdrop, we have chosen the motto “The Power of Words” for our role as Guest of Honour.
Writers are guardians of free speech. Our aim as Guest of Honour is to emphasise this. We want to create scope for culture to facilitate interaction and understanding. It is increasingly apparent that Turkey has reached a crossroads. Does Turkey want to continue along the path of democracy, the rule of law, freedom and sound economic development; a path which has earned it great recognition and appreciation? Or will Turkey abandon this path of hope and go down the wrong track? That puts it at risk of coming to a dead‑end.
Minister of State Böhmer’s trip to Istanbul culminated in a meeting with the President of TÜSİAD, the Turkish Industry and Business Association, Cansen Basran‑Symes, on developing German‑Turkish business relations. In the morning Böhmer, in her role as Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Tarabya Cultural Academy, held talks with scholarship holders in Tarabya.