Private sector representatives, mariners, academicians, representatives of related non-governmental organisations, designers and students gathered on October 28, 2019 at the historical Water Gas Factory Culture Centre as a part of “Izmir Sea Festival Workshop”, which was organised by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in order to produce ideas to create more interaction between Izmir and the sea, breathe life into city’s social, cultural and economical structure.
Opening speeches were given by Chairman of Aegean Region Chamber of Industry Ender Yorgancilar, IMEAK Chamber of Shipping Izmir Branch Chairman Yusuf Ozturk IZDENİZ Chairman Turgay Bozoglu, Executive Vice President of Arkas Holding Bernard Arkas, Koc University Maritime Forum (KUDENFOR) Founding Director Retired Rear Admiral Upper Half Cem Gurdeniz, Chairman of Izmir Union of Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen Zekeriya Mutlu and Turkey Sailing Federation Board Member Hakan Yenigun.
Speakers touched upon Izmir’s relation with sea along the history and the effects of this connection on city life. They also expressed that Izmir has a very high maritime potential, and emphasized that this potential must be realized; they also stated that they are ready to contribute in all kinds to the organization of Izmir Maritime Festival.
Mayor Tunc Soyer stated that they have organised the first maritime workshop based on this idea. Soyer said that Izmir is a “world city” connecting two sides of the sea, which cab revive the relation between East and West and went on “Izmir was founded as a port city and the characteristics of this 8500-year-old city was always shaped by the sea. This precious was the gate of entrance to the East, and the first gazing window to the West. By this way, Izmir became host to many different cultures and ideas throughout the history. So, the sea created Izmir . Mayor Soyer finalized his speech after emphasizing that the workshop’s objective is to plan a roadmap with the purpose of building today and the future based on the historical connection between Izmir and the sea: “Reports of this workshop will contribute significantly to our efforts towards reaching our goal of making Izmir the Sea Capital of Mediterranean. I also have a dream and I would like to share it here for the first time. I dream of founding a Marine Sciences University to Izmir . Both Izmir and Turkey deserve this university which would involve various disciplines of sea and maritime. Also this will make a huge contribution to maritime culture studies, which we want to revive and strengthen in Izmir.”
Arkas Holding Executive Vice President Bernard Arkas; “Why did Ephesus, the great city of the ancient ages, disappear, was abandoned and perished suddenly? Because the sea dried out, it has ebbed, and not flown back. When the sea disappeared, people left Ephesus and today only this ghost city remained. Izmir is the heir of Ephesus and it is the only city that can replace it. A harbour is a giant ecosystem. People from different geographies meet and improve each other through trading in harbours. Today, people of Izmir are exemplary to Turkey and they are a mixture of joy thanks to the harbour tradition that has been going on for centuries. But we have forgotten to make use of the sea. At least we can provide unlimited transportation and shipment by the sea. We can connect Izmir everywhere via the sea. And many other things… This workshop will revive all these. Sea and land will be united in Izmir.
What are the goals?
- Work groups of the workshop created and outlined the project basis of the organizations below…
- National and International Individual/Team Water Sports Competitions/Activities
- Organizing National/International Sea Fairs
- Boatshow organization,
- Ship scrapping/antique ship and accessories fairs
- Boat/model boat production and exhibition
- Organizing balloon tours at gulf
- Building huge sound and light synchronized water dance facilities and laser show on water/steam screen
- Organizing maritime conferences/activities at a national and international level (Organizing workshops such as cruise tourism)
- “Gastro DenIzmir” Organization
- Building Visual/Permanent Monuments that will Serve for 12 Months in a Year
- Establishing Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Maritime Culture Centre
- Establishing “Izmir Sea Museum”