ANKARA, 25 March 2016: Turkish Minister for National Education Mr. Nabi Avci was the chief guest at the awards ceremony of the “Jinnah Young Writers Award” essay competition, held in Ankara yesterday (24 March).

The Award, named after the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is the initiative of the Pakistan Embassy, instituted with the support of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry and organized in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of National Education. The theme for the first edition of the prestigious award was “Pakistan-Turkey Relations: A Historical Perspective.”

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Nabi Avci paid rich tributes to the leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam and highlighted the high esteem in which he is held in Turkey. Offering his best wishes for “eternal” Pakistan-Turkey relations, he said these were rooted deep in history and that the two countries had always stood by each other in good and bad times. He added that the Turkish nation would never forget the support and solidarity shown by the people of Pakistan during the Turkish War of Independence. The Minister also highlighted growing bilateral cooperation in the education field and highlighted the large number of Pakistani students at various institutions of higher learning in Turkey, exceeding more than 1,000. Minister Avci reiterated the commitment to further expand bilateral educational cooperation and concluded the speech by saying “Jeevay Pakistan; Jeevay Turkey” and “Long live Pakistan; Long live Turkey.”

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, in his remarks, commended the participating students for their participation in the competition and presenting rich information and perspectives in their essays. He said the Embassy’s endeavor in instituting this annual Award was to reach out to the younger generation and acquaint them with the depth of shared ties of faith, culture and history between Pakistan and Turkey. The response “illustrates both the keen interest of the students and their contributions to further advancing the Pakistan-Turkey relationship,” he added. Highlighting the growing level of collaboration in the fields of education and culture, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood expressed the confidence that the graph of people-to-people exchanges would continue to rise.

Earlier, Director General of EU and International Relations of the National Education Ministry Funda KOCABIYIK in her welcome speech gave details about the competition. She said the competition was announced for the senior high school students of the 81 provinces of Turkey. Overall, a total of 69 short-listed essays were received for the completion from 46 provinces across Turkey. Of these, 44 were contributed by female students and 25 by male students.

Winners of the first, second and third prizes received their awards from Education Minister Nabi Avci, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, and Deputy Minister for Education Orhan Erdem. Emre Karakuyu of Konya Selçuklu Dolapoğlu Anadolu Lisesi secured the first position; Mehmet Furkan Onay of Ankara Atatürk Lisesi secured second position; while Ebrar Saliha Kopmaz of Sivas Selçuklu Anadolu Lisesi clinched third position. Essays written by Özge Işıklıoğlu of Balıkesir T.C. Ziraat Bankası Fen Lisesi, Özgür Baran Tunç of Gaziantep N. Fazıl Kısakürek Anadolu Lisesi and Rümeysa Aydın of Yalova Anadolu İmam Hatip Lisesi were awarded the “Honorable Mention.”

The participating students, teachers and the families deeply appreciated the event and felt that this initiative would go a long way in further raising awareness about various dimensions of Pakistan-Turkey relations and reinforcing public support for this special relationship.

Event’s photos attached, more from