"White Nights" should remind the general reader of Dostoevski's immortal novel. Actually, "white nights" are a period in Russia when daylight continues throughout the night. They are days when the sun doesn't set and when the nights are swallowed by the daylight. In these days Moscow and St. Petersburg conquer the eyes and heart with their magnificent scenery. A delegation composed of artists, academicians and journalists participated in a trip that we organized during these days. Our guests were:
Prof. Niyazi OKTEM, Mehmet Ali KILICBAY, Nese DUZEL, Tufan TURENC, Pinar TURENC, Ahmet VARDAR, Hayati KARAKULLUKCU, Prof. Mehmet S. AYDIN, Gulay GOKTURK, Prof. Hasan KONI, Ahmet Turan ALKAN, Remzi TUZUN, Uğur POLAT, Ali BAYRAM, Alper GORMUS, Bulut ARAS, Esref KOLCAK, Yusuf SEZGIN, Nihat NIKEREL, Gafur UZUNER…
"White Nights" was a colorful and pleasurable trip from the Pushkin Museum to watching white nights in the Neva River…
A new one was added to our trips in the autumn of 1999. Azerbaijan's famous writers and journalists were visited by a group that included Prof. Kemal Karpat, a member of the teaching faculty at the Wisconsin University in America, ½eref Oğuz, Nevval Sevindi and foundation member Erkam Tufan Aytav. The trip in which Bahtiyar Vahapzade and Anar, the pride of Azeri literature, were visited was extremely beneficial and pleasant.
Our foundation's president, Harun Tokak, took his place in the delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to China towards the end of 1998. Among various visits and meetings, the Buddhist temples and talks with the Buddhist priests left the most vivid impressions.
Ukraine Trip (22-25 December 1999)
As the Journalists and Writers Foundation, we organized trips during regular periods inside and outside the country. Distinguished bureaucrats, journalists, writers and artists joined these trips. A foundation was prepared for the guest that participated in these trips to make political, economic and cultural observations regarding the countries visited. Also, guests of different viewpoints and ideas had the opportunity to get to know each other better and establish a dialogue during the trips. Of course, it was important to become acquainted with the people of the countries that were visited. However, we saw that we didn't know each other well as Turks and that it was necessary to do so. Thus, it was as if we travelled to each other's world of ideas and feelings rather than to a different geography. We think that this is the important thing…
One of these trips was the visit to the Ukraine with a large group of journalists and writers. Turkish Journalists Association President Nail Gureli and Nese Duzel, Naki Ozkan from the Milliyet, Zaman newspaper's General Director of Publications Mahmut Cebi, and Avni Ozgurel and Ozcan Ercan from the Radikal attended. Our delegation, which visited the Ukraine Writers Union in Kiev and which attended a cocktail party for members of the arts and businessmen, became the guests of famous Ukrainian writer Zagrebelni and gave a conference to Ukrainian students learning Turkish. The trip ended with a visit to Ukrainian newspapers with large circulation.
Urfa Trip (3-5 June 1999)
A Symbol Of Hope In Dialogue: Prophet Abraham
On June 3-5, 1999 the Journalists and Writers Foundation made a preliminary visit to Urfa and Harran for meetings regarding the symposium entitled "A Symbol of Hope and a Bond of Unity in Dialogue" to be held in April, 2000 in commemoration of Prophet Jesus' birth. Members of the delegation were:
Professor Thomas Michel (Vatican Inter-religious Dialogue / Cizvit Secretariat
Monsignor Georges Marovitch General Secretary of the Board of Spiritual heads of the Catholic Community)
Dr. M. Irfan Barlas (Member of the Presidential State Board of Inspection)
Bishop Meletyos Sakulides (Representative of the Phanariot-Greek Patriarch)
Diacon Ishak Bicakci Representative of the Armenian Patriarch)
Harun Tokak (President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation)
Cemal Ussak (Vice-President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation)
On the first day, visits were made within the program's framework to the President of the Harran University, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, the Mayor, Governor Sehabettin Harput, the Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Mufti. After that visits were made to the Ulucami and its surroundings, which one of Hz. Jesus's disciples visited, and Balikgol and Dergah, where Hz. Abrahim was born and thrown into the fire.
The second day's program was as follows: visits to educational institutions, the Ataturk Dam, the tomb of Hz. Job, the historical Harran region and the ruins of the world's first university, and ½anl›urfa's historical bazaars. After this fast tempo, the classical Urfa Night left unforgetable pleasures in our guests' memories.