Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer participated in the 3 January 100th Anniversary Celebration Program of Mersin's Liberation from the Enemy Occupation, hosted by Mersin Governorship. President Seçer mentioned that a heavy price was paid for victory and said, “The salvation of Mersin is not just the salvation of a city. The liberation of Mersin is the liberation of all Çukurova, Anatolia and even a homeland.”
Celebration Program started from the Train Station
At the ceremony, which started from Mersin Train Station with the performance of Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Folk Dance Team, the representative delegation consisting of combat veterans who came to the station by train was welcomed. After the welcome, a march was held with the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Band from the Train Station to Cumhuriyet Square.
Mersin Governor Ali İhsan Su, Mediterranean Region and Garrison Commander Rear Admiral Fuat Gedik, Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer, deputies, district mayors, non-governmental organizations and chamber leaders, political party representatives, veterans, students and citizens took part in the program. Karabakh Veterans from Azerbaijan also attended the ceremony in Mersin on the 100th anniversary of the liberation.
At the ceremony that continued in Cumhuriyet Square after the march, Mersin Governor Ali İhsan Su, Mediterranean Region and Garrison Commander Rear Admiral Fuat Gedik and Mersin Metropolitan Mayor Vahap Seçer laid wreaths at the Atatürk Monument. After a moment of silence, the glorious Turkish Flag was hoisted to the accompaniment of the National Anthem. Governor Su, Mediterranean Region and Garrison Commander Gedik and President Seçer celebrated the 'Liberation Day' of the participants and the people. After the poem 'Pearl of the Mediterranean' read by student Esme Aslan, Major Dilhan Tuzkaya from the Mediterranean Region and Garrison Command made a speech stating the meaning and importance of the day.
“The founding values are our conscience and our map of the future”
Speaking after the performance of the Metropolitan Municipality Folk Dance Team, Mayor Seçer said, “Today is January 3rd. Exactly 100 years ago, what happened here? Not far away; Just at this time, the French Flag was lowered on the Old Government House, which was used as the headquarters of the invaders. The Turkish Flag was hoisted instead. The occupation forces boarded their ships from the Customs Pier and left Mersin. What happened here 100 years ago were the unique moments of a tremendous historical break that would radically change the regional and even global balances. We showed the whole world that we cannot give up our freedom at all costs. It hasn't been easy. History wrote this resistance. We will never forget those days. These founding values are our conscience and our map of the future. Happy 100th anniversary to all of us," he said.
“We will never find our way if we don't know our history”
Stating that heavy prices were paid for the victory, Seçer said, “The balance is our founding values. If we do not know our history, we will never find our way. We lived, live and will continue to live freely and in brotherhood in these ancient lands. I want to draw the attention of all historians; Mustafa Kemal was in Mersin on 5 November 1918. Long before May 19, 1919. The preparations for the War of Independence began that day with a secret meeting here in Karamancılar Mansion. He took the first step of our National Liberation Struggle from these lands, saying, 'The real war begins now'. Turkey's recipe for salvation came out of that meeting at the Karamancılar Mansion, which we are restoring today. As the people of Mersin, we gave a voice to Mustafa Kemal's voice that day. That's why the salvation of Mersin is not just the salvation of a city. The liberation of Mersin is the liberation of all Çukurova, Anatolia and even a homeland.”
“We are Mersin. We are the heirs of tolerance and justice.”
Seçer mentioned that Mersin, which has always turned its face to the West in history, made breakthroughs in the first years of the Republic, and said, “We are Mersin. We are the heirs of tolerance and justice. It is our responsibility to protect this unique heritage. Our city, which has always turned its face to the West in history, made successive breakthroughs in the first years of the Republic. We should not forget the enriching cultural motifs of non-Muslim families that permeate the character of our city. For this reason, the spirit of peace, tolerance and brotherhood that we have been living with great care for centuries is our common strength. Everyone who knows the value of this city and struggles to add value to its value is from Mersin and is our fellow countryman. All Mersin residents are our citizens with equal rights. It was like that yesterday, it will remain like that today and tomorrow.”
“There is no doubt that Mersin has made very important leaps in the last 100 years”
Adding that when there is stability and security in a place, there will be peace first, and when there is peace, there will be development, prosperity and economic development, Seçer said, “This is true for cities as well as for countries. There is no doubt that Mersin has made significant leaps in the last 100 years. In the 1950s, Mersin had the appearance of a simple European coastal city, where live music was played in tea gardens, Republic Balls were held, poetry and music events were held at Ak Kahvesi, and it had a cinema and a theatre. Müfide İlhan; She served as Turkey's first female mayor in those years. Investments such as Mersin Port, Ataş Refinery and Şişe Cam, which were established one after another, contributed significantly to the growth and development of our country as well as our city. The 70s, 80s and 90s transformed Mersin sociologically. Disasters, compulsory residence policies, terrorism, wars and economic crises, agriculture and industrialization have always made Mersin a center of attraction. Migration waves have created fraternization rather than deep fault lines, ghettoization and conflict in our society. Mersin has an official population of nearly 2 million today. However, it also hosts 400 refugees. It's a very heavy load. Mersin is trying to cope with this wave of migration with its capacity and ability to absorb. We have to spend the resources allocated to us according to the official population of our city, together with the refugee burden. In other words, the resources provided for 2 million are spent for 2.4 million people.
President Seçer continued as follows: “The year 2021 was difficult. The devastation and economic crisis caused by the pandemic have exhausted us all. On the other hand, the tension and polarization created by the general politics cause problems between the local administrations and the central administration. We should know that this situation makes us all lose. However, Mersin is entering a new era. The whole world understands the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean better with each passing day.”
Stating that the strategic importance of the Eastern Mediterranean will increase in the coming years, Seçer said that the investments it deserves should be made as soon as possible in order for Mersin to become an agriculture, trade, energy, tourism, industry and logistics center in the region and the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Reminding some of the important investments, President Seçer said, “Cukurova Airport, which will carry not only Mersin but all Çukurova into a new era, should be completed and put into service as soon as possible. It is a very important issue for Mersin that the Main Container Port, which will be built in Mersin, the most strategic gate of the world logistics networks in the Eastern Mediterranean, is implemented as soon as it is reflected in the investment programs and zoning plans. Nobody should ever think of shifting this investment from Mersin to another place. The Mediterranean Coastal Road Project between Mersin and Antalya and the Çeşmeli-Taşucu highway section of this road should be completed as soon as possible. It is very important for Mersin to invest in the drinking water transmission line, treatment and water tanks of the Pamukluk Dam, which is under construction to provide irrigation and drinking water to Mersin. According to the protocol between MESKI and DSI, these investments must be made by DSI. It is currently in the investment program of DSI, but the investments have not yet started. All support should be given to Mersin tourism, especially the necessary investment incentives, in order to realize the tourism regions, including the Mersin-Tarsus coastline project, as soon as possible.
“We must carry our city to the future together”
Stating that Mersin ranks 5th and 6th in Turkey with the tax revenues it provides to the general budget, President Seçer said, “It is inevitable that the central government will make positive discrimination in Mersin, which has been exposed to internal and external migration for many years and has carried all the burden of migration. The elimination of income distribution injustice, which poisons social peace, has become a necessity rather than a necessity. We must carry our city, which focuses on people and the environment, provides employment, and has a strong potential in every field from agriculture to commerce, from industry to tourism and logistics, with high added value production. We will succeed as we did 100 years ago. Together, we will build a more modern, more contemporary, developed, more beautiful Mersin, a more beautiful Turkey. We want peace, prosperity, peace and abundance in Mersin and all over the world," he said.
“Metro is the flagship of dozens of projects to be built in Mersin on the 100th anniversary of this city”
All over the world in 2022; Adding that he wishes peace, love, justice, democracy and tolerance to prevail, President Seçer addressed the youth and said; “In 2022, we must first believe in ourselves. We must believe that we will be successful. At this point, I want to address the young people; today we will lay the foundation of our metro here. Do not think of today only as a threshold for the transition to the rail systems period for Mersin. Metro investment is the flagship of dozens of projects to be made in Mersin on the 100th anniversary of this city. As Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor, my vision for Mersin matches your dreams for the future. My dreams for the future do not fit into Mersin's present. I know your dreams don't fit either. We will carry Mersin to the new age with you. As a nation, we know how to fight and win for the liberation struggle 100 years ago, and we will win many victories with science, mind, culture and art in the new age," he said.
President Seçer invited the people of Mersin to the 100th Anniversary Activity Area, which they opened; “Very valuable exhibitions about the National Struggle, the 100 years of Mersin, interviews with valuable names, music concerts and visual experiences await our people there. I commemorate our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their homeland, especially our Great Leader Veteran Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with mercy and gratitude. The celebration program ended after the helicopter demonstration by the Gendarmerie General Command. Later, Mersin Governor Ali İhsan Su, Mediterranean Region and Garrison Commander Rear Admiral Fuat Gedik and Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer visited the Veterans Association building.