The 20th Anniversary Reception of the Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) was held in Istanbul on October 20, 2023, with the participation of Numan Kurtulmuş, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM).

The program was attended by ambassadors, consuls general, bureaucrats, mayors, local administrators, NGO representatives and many guests from nearly 20 countries, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, TRNC, Lebanon, Mongolia, Moldova, Gagauzia, Uzbekistan, Russian Federation and Turkey.

Speaking at the program held in Beykoz Mecidiye Pavilion in Istanbul, TDBB President and Mayor of Konya Metropolitan Municipality Uğur İbrahim Altay reminded that he was elected as the president of the Union of Turkish World Municipalities for the second time at the 6th Ordinary General Assembly Meeting of the Union held in June last year with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and said that he was very honored to preside over such a valuable organization in the 20th Anniversary of the Union.

Stating that Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) was established on November 12, 2003, with the initiation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in order to develop cooperation, brotherhood, unity and solidarity among the local governments of the member countries, to carry out joint projects in economic and cultural fields, to produce solutions to the problems of city administrations and create new city culture models, Mayor Altay continued as follows:

“We have accomplished very important things so far under the umbrella of our Union, which has 1,206 members from 30 countries. With the contributions of our previous Presidents of the Union and members, over the past 20 years; we established sister city relations between cities of friendly and sister countries, experienced sharing programs and carried out visits between our cities. By taking a common stance on many issues, we have strengthened the power of our members in international platforms. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our previous Presidents of the Union and their valuable management who contributed to all these issues.”

We will Continue to Extend Our Help to Palestine

Mayor Altay noted that the world needs peace and tranquility more than ever in recent times and added: “We are faced with ongoing crises in many parts of our geography, from the Russia-Ukraine war to the conflicts in the Caucasus, from the tensions in the Balkans to the conflicts in the Mediterranean, from the inhumane attacks in Palestine to the never-ending blood and tears in the Middle East. Especially the immoral attacks that take place in Palestine and are beyond any conscience; it causes deep sadness to everyone who has even a grain of humanity in their hearts. I would like to state that we strongly and regrettably condemn these heinous attacks, which will go down in history as a source of shame. We will not remain silent against these terrible attacks, and we will continue to extend our help to Palestine as we have done so far.”

Mayor Altay concluded his speech with the following words: “I congratulate the 20th anniversary of the Union of Turkish World Municipalities with my deepest feelings and express my gratitude to our President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the esteemed heads of state of our member countries, who have never spared their support to our Union. Again, I would like to thank all my colleagues who have been in the management of our Union since its establishment, our member cities and everyone who has contributed. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Mr. Numan Kurtulmuş, whose experiences we have always benefited from.”

Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Kurtulmuş Congratulated TDBB

While Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Numan Kurtulmuş, who participated in the program, began his speech by thanking the previous term managers for their great efforts and contributions since the early periods of TDBB, he congratulated Mayor of Konya Metropolitan Municipality Uğur İbrahim Altay, who is currently the President of TDBB, and wished him success in his work.

Kurtulmuş pointed out that there is a state of imbalance in the world and that there are many problems from regional conflicts to political tensions, from environmental destruction to climate changes, from migration waves to poverty, hunger and mass famine problems for some countries and said, “In this period of so many painful and intense problems, it is an important opportunity to increase the possibility of cooperation between Turkish states. This opportunity will be an opportunity that will involve a very important development not only among Turkish-origin or Turkish-speaking states, but also in the geography from the Balkans to Central Asia.”

Kurtulmuş added, “In this respect, I personally see the Union of Turkish World Municipalities not only as an opportunity to increase cooperation between our municipalities in terms of local governments, but also as a strong foundation, a solid basis for the Turkish world as a whole to walk towards a common goal. For this reason, I would like to thank our esteemed municipal administrator friends, mayors, presidents and brothers from many parts of the world who you represent here, who supported such an important development.”

Kurtulmuş said, “Almost every problem we face today reminds us of something over and over again. The world system is now out of whack, the magic of the world system has been broken”. Stating that it is not possible to achieve peace and friendship between nations anywhere in this world system, Kurtulmuş continued by saying that one of the last examples of this emerged in the conflict between Palestine and Israel: “In such an environment, unfortunately, the world’s conscience is in high level. We see that everyone who has a little bit of humanity in their hearts, regardless of religion, sect, disposition or politics, does not stand by and raise their voice against this inhumane, brutal massacre, which has reached almost genocidal proportions, far beyond being called a massacre. As our President says in every international platform, ‘the world is bigger than five’, that is, the fact that the world needs a new global architecture, is once again coming to the agenda of humanity. That is why it is inevitable for those who advocate a new global peace system in the world, those who advocate for the formation of a new balance and for all nations of the world to have a voice and rights in the world as equal and sovereign nations, to come together. In this sense, Union of Turkish World Municipalities is an important organization that will not only perform a municipal function but also create the infrastructure of a cultural and political union. Our responsibility not only to the Palestinian people, but to all the oppressed nations in the world, is not only to condemn from where we are, but beyond that, we have to raise such a voice that not only will we not leave the curse of the oppressed alone, but we have to raise our voice at the highest pitch so that the oppressor will also be afraid and take the necessary measures.

Emphasizing that the perspective that will save the world is the perspective of Mawlana and Yunus Emre, Kurtulmuş said: “Their perspective is humane and sees people as couples and brothers in creation. In this context, I hope that you are the ones who can make not only political and institutional proposals to humanity, but also some intellectual proposals. I believe that the Union of Turkish World Municipalities will make a significant contribution to cultural studies in this sense. I congratulate each of you for the work you have done. I congratulate the Union of Turkish World Municipalities for many more 20 years.”

The ceremony ended with the gift of Map, which is the first World Map and included in Mahmud al-Kashgari’s Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk, to the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Kurtulmuş, in memory of the day, and a group family photo was taken.