ANKARA, 16 June 2017: Awards ceremony for the second edition of “Jinnah Young Writers Award” essay competition was held in Ankara. Turkey’s Minister for National Education Ismet Yilmaz was the chief guest on the occasion.

The Award, named after the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is the initiative of the Pakistan Embassy, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education of Turkey. The theme for this year’s competition was “Pakistan-Turkey Brotherhood and Recent Developments.”

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Ismet Yilmaz said that the unique Pakistan-Turkey relations were deep rooted in history and had few parallels in the world. He added that leaders like Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had changed the fate of Pakistan and Turkey. Similarly, persons with great ideas like Pakistan’s national peot Muhammad Iqbal, and his Turkish contemporary Mehmet Akif Ersoy, gave hope to the people during difficult times. Minister Yilmaz added that Pakistan and Turkey had supported each other throughout history, emphasizing that Turkey will not forget the support given by the people of Pakistan to the Turkish war of independence. He also highlighted growing bilateral cooperation in the education field and informed that over 1,200 Pakistani students were currently enrolled in institutions of higher learning in Turkey.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, in his remarks, said Jinnah Young Writers Award was a key feature of the Embassy’s public diplomacy efforts. He felicitated the participating students for their deep thinking, high quality information, and passion and perspective contained in the essays and termed their efforts as a valuable contribution to the Pakistan-Turkey relationship.  Ambassador Sohail Mahmood underlined that the Embassy’s endeavor in instituting this annual Award was to reach out to the younger generation and acquaint them with the glorious tradition whereby both nations always stood by each other shoulder-to-shoulder -- be it support in the Wars of Independence, or assistance in the face of earthquakes or floods, or solidarity on Cyprus and Kashmir. He added that holding the competition this year was of special significance as both countries were celebrating 2017 as the “70th Year of Pakistan-Turkey Diplomatic Relations.”  The Ambassador added that as part of these celebrations, both countries would simultaneously issue a joint postal stamp with a thematic focus on both countries’ national poets i.e. Mehmet Akif Ersoy and Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

Earlier, Director General of EU and International Relations of the National Education Ministry Funda Kocabiyik in her welcome speech said the competition was announced for all the senior high school students throughout Turkey. A total of 69 short-listed essays were received for the competition from 43 provinces.

Fatma YILDIRIM of Malatya Sedrettin Konevi Anadolu İmam Hatip High School secured first position; Elif KUYUMCU of Etimesgut Şehit Velit Bekdaş Anadolu High School secured second position; while Burak ÇETİN of Konya Karatay Dolapoğlu Anadolu High School clinched third position. Essays written by Ayşe Beyza Nur MİNTAŞ of İzmir Kemalpaşa Şehit Halil Kantarcı Anadolu İmam Hatip High School, Hakan KEMAL of Kahramankazan Akıncı Anadolu High School, and Dilara ALBAYRAK of Kocaeli Çayırova Şehit Er Mücahit Okur Anadolu High School were awarded the “Honorable Mention.”

Brief introductory documentaries on Pakistan and Turkey were also shown to the audience. Member Parliament and Chairman of Pakistan-Turkey Parlıamentary Friendship Group Muhammet Balta, Member Parliament and Chairman Pakistan-Turkey Cultural Association Burhan Kayaturk, senior officials of the Ministry of Education, representatives of various Turkish institutions, and Pakistan community attended the event.