Turkey sees local Expo as opportunity for 2020

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Turkey sees local Expo as opportunity for 2020


Ali Gureli, a representative of the Turkish delegation to the Yeosu Expo Provided by Jang Sang-in

Turkey is vying to host the 2020 World Expo after its bid for the 2015 international fair lost out to Milan’s. The final decision will be made by the Bureau of International Expositions, the international organization overseeing the expos, in Paris next March.

According to members of the Turkish bidding committee, the Yeosu Expo will provide the country with an opportunity to promote its latest bid. Turkey is one of 106 countries attending the Korean expo, which will be held in the southern port city of Yeosu beginning this Saturday.

Last month, the Turkish government held a departure ceremony for its delegation to the Yeosu Expo in the heart of Istanbul. At the event, the JoongAng Ilbo sat down with Ali Gureli, a representative of the Turkish delegation.

Gureli said the Turkish government is working hard on preparations for Turkey’s exhibition at the Yeosu Expo as part of its efforts to host the 2020 Expo.

He said his country finds inspiration in Korea’s resiliency, which finally earned the snowy city of Pyeongchang the rights to host the Winter Olympics, after its third attempt.

“Pyeongchang’s victory is a helpful reference for us,” Gureli said. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Q. What is the concept of the Turkey Pavilion at the Yeosu Expo?

A. The Yeosu Expo’s theme is “The Living Ocean and Coast,” and we have designed our pavilion under the theme of unity in multiplicity and multiplicity in unity. To express the wonder of the ocean realistically, we have displayed live fish on the floor of the pavilion.

Why is the Turkish government pushing to host the 2020 Expo?

Turkey competed with Milan to win a bid to host the 2015 Expo, but we lost.

For the 2020 Expo, our 8,000-year-old city Izmir, one of the three major metropolises in Turkey, is competing with Dubai [United Arab Emirates], Sao Paolo [Brazil] and two other foreign cities. The Turkish government plans to invest $50 billion in the Izmir Expo.

You have close connections to Korea. You helped arrange an exhibition of a Korean artist for the first time in Turkey, and you own some works by Korean artists. How do you compare Korean culture with Turkish culture?

The two countries have many things in common, such as a long history and traditions, the transformation of the political system from dynastic rule to republic rule and Ural-Altaic languages. Musical and architectural styles and patterns are also similar to each other. It is not groundless to say we are brother countries.

Has the Korean Wave reached Turkey?

There are 550,000 or so K-pop followers in Turkey. Some performances by K-pop singers are also being planned to be held in Turkey this year. Every year, around 130,000 Koreans also visit Turkey. The two countries will sign a free trade agreement in June.

By Jo Kang-su [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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