Speech Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Consul General of Turkey in Jerusalem, On the Occasion of the Ceremony Held to Handover the Renovated Ottoman Period Clock Tower, Nablus, 19 December 2012

Şakir Özkan Torunlar 19.12.2012
Mr Governor, Mr Mayor,

Distinguished members of the press,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, I again have the privilege to be in Nablus, one of the Palestinian towns which I repeatedly fall in love every time I visit. I feel further privileged today for being among my Palestinian friends from Nablus.

We are together for the handing over ceremony of the historical clock tower of Nablus after it was renovated by the Turkish Cooperation Coordination Agency, briefly TİKA to the Municipality of Nablus. I would also like to take this opportunity to greet Mr Ghassan Saka, the Mayor of Nablus who was successfully re- elected to his former post.Like all of you, I have no doubt that Nablus will further prosper during his tenure with the unspared support of both the Consulate General of Turkey in Jerusalem and the Turkish Government.

Dear Friends,

As you all probably know, the clock tower in Nablus was erected in 1901, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the enthronement of Sultan Abdülhamid II.

During his rule, nearly hundred towns and cities within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire, including Nablus, were gifted with similar clock towers. Some of those were built in Safed, Acre, Nazareth, Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem. However, the one in Jerusalem was demolished in 1922, five years after the Turkish period ended in Palestine.
The tower we are standing in front of, is one of the hundreds of pieces of our common cultural heritage in Palestine. Our forefathers have spent their lives not only to defend Palestine, but also to develop it. Today, our common responsibility and duty is to preserve what we inherited from them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before to conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to Mr Kürşad Mahmat, the Representative of TİKA and his team, who tirelessly carries out all the development and bilateral cooperation projects in East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza. I also would like to thank to Mr Ghassan Saka, the Mayor of this beautiful Palestinian city, who together with his citizens extended a great and very warm hospitality to all of us. I reiterate that Turkey, with its people and Government will continue to stand side by side and walk hand in hand with Palestine and their Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Thank you.

Ahmet Rıza Demirer Consul General