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Remarks Delivered by Ambassador Kuneralp / Fondation Yehudi Menuhin, 02.12.2010

REMARKS DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR SELIM KUNERALP,
PERMANENT DELEGATE OF TURKEY TO THE EUROPEAN UNION,
FONDATION YEHUDI MENUHIN
BRUSSELS, 2 DECEMBER 2010

It gives me great pleasure to say a few words on the occasion of the Burhan Öçal Istanbul Oriental Ensemble concert that is being held in at the initiative of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.

It is very appropriate that the Foundation has taken this initiative. Yehudi Menuhin, in addition to being an outstanding violinist and musician believed in dialogue between cultures. People from my generation remember his collaboration with Ravi Shankar, at a time when such cooperation between different cultures was the exception, rather than the rule. The Foundation follows in the footsteps that he has left. It deserves all our support in its work.

Dialogue between cultures and civilisations is an objective that Turkey believes in wholeheartedly. Prime Minister Erdoğan and the Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain launched this process with the support of the United Nations already six years ago. The whole international community has since then assumed ownership of this process. The best way of combating intolerance, one of the scourges of our times, is to ensure that people from different cultures get to know each other’s cultural inheritance better.

Burhan Öçal and his Istanbul Oriental Ensemble combine what is best in Western and Oriental music. In that sense they embody Turkey’s vast cultural treasure. Yehudi Menuhin would no doubt have been happy to hear them tonight.

I should therefore like to thank the Foundation for having organised this evening, and Burhan Öçal and his friends for being with us this evening. I have no doubt that we will all enjoy their performance.