Speech Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Consul General of Turkey in Jerusalem, on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary Of Al-Fatemiyya Girls School in Nablus, 27 April 2011

Şakir Özkan Torunlar 27.04.2011
Your Excellencies,

Ms Deputy Governor, Mr Mayor,

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pride for me to attend the 100th Anniversary Celebrations of the Fatemeyya Girls School in Nablus. As Ambassador of Turkey to Palestine, I would like to thank to all who made this event possible. My heart goes not only to the Mayor of Nablus who invited me today, but also to the people of Nablus who may be proud of having such a remarkable school in their town.

Nablus is one of the first Palestinian towns which was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire as early as 1517, during the reign of Selim I and left the Empire as late as the World War I.

It is on the records that Nablus, one of the six Palestinian sanjaks, was also a regional capital during the Ottoman period and the families in and around the town were busy with trade as the most interactive population of the region with the outer World. Sitting on the crossroads between two major Ottoman cities, namely Damascus and Cairo, Nablus effected these two and were effected from them. No need to say that the pilgrims from Anatolia had to pass by Nablus and spend some dayshere on their way to Mecca. Historians wrote that the the last two centuries under the Ottoman rule, economic activity and the regional leadership of Nablus surpassed Jerusalem, Jaffa and Acre thanks to the Sultan in İstanbul who has given greater autonomy to Nablus, with a full trust in its people.

We know that, for Nablus, the 20th century was the one we can hardly compare with the previous four ones. The generations of Nablus who witnessed it were less lucky than their grandfathers. We also hardly forget that the 21st century did not start for the people of Nablus with great promises. Every household has a story tos hare with us. However, we are not here today to remember those dark days. We are here to underline that the genes of our friends in Nablus never surrendered to their fate, and they worked harder and harder to retake back what were stolen from them and to prosper.

The school, like all other Girls Schools in Palestine, has always been a resource for the regional renaissance, as the Palestinian women have always been the driving force of the land not only in politics, but also the economic development as well. Let’s not forget that still today, there are communities in this World where the parents refrain of sending their daughters to school. In that sense, Nablus has a unique place in a turbulent region that there were schools for girls as early as the beginning of the 20th century.

Your Excellencies, Dear Friends,

The best investment is the investment in education. There is no other investment in the World which returns to you back in multiples. I believe that we all have responsibility to keep the Fatemeyya Girls School alive for many generations and never forget that it has always been one of the pillars of the existence of the people of Nablus.

Thank you for your patience.