By Kubra Chohan
ANKARA (AA) – Talented high school students in Turkey received “Jinnah Young Writers Award” on Friday with joint efforts of Turkey’s Education Ministry and Pakistan Embassy in the capital Ankara.
“In the eyes and hearts of all Turkish people, Pakistan's place is very valuable. I would like to state that this feeling is mutual,” Education Minister Ziya Selcuk told the award ceremony at the ministry.
Stressing the enriched bonds between the two countries, Selcuk recalled a verse by poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal which he wrote for Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: “While in our origin we were a mere well-nigh extinguished spark. Thanks to his one glance we became a globe-enveloping sun.”
The minister added: “We will share the lights of that sun with the people of friendly [nation] Pakistan for long years and continue to share with our hearts.”
Selcuk also said an agreement had been reached with Pakistani Ambassador Syrus Sajjad Qazi to make the writing contest mutual, as the participants were only from Turkey this year.
Qazi, for his part, said: “The deep thinking, high quality information, and passion and perspective contained in these essays are valuable contribution to the Pakistan-Turkey friendship.”
“Our key objective in instituting Jinnah Award is to reach out to the younger generation and acquaint them with the glorious tradition of Pakistan-Turkey relations,” Qazi said.
“The vision of leadership in both countries is to transform our historic relationship into a strong strategic partnership,” the ambassador added.
With 78 shortlisted essays from 44 provinces across Turkey, the Jinnah Young Writers Award was held for the third consecutive year, according to Qazi.
This year, senior high school students competed to write the best essay under the theme of “Brotherly country Pakistan, where history and tourism meet”. Qazi said the competition “forms a key feature of our public diplomacy efforts”.
Zeynep Aslan from southern Gaziantep province came first, while Elif Kuyumcu from Ankara ranked second, and Irem Karlikli from the Black Sea province of Trabzon claimed the third place.